Clbe nvcrs^ o
SHELTON OF TIBET
FLORA BEAL SHELTON
DS. ALBERT LEROY SHELTON
SHELTON OF TIBET
C BJEAL V SHELTON :
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
J. C. OGDEN
EDGAR DEWITT JONES, D.D,
NEW ^r YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
. " t
* . *
* * -
By George H. Doran Company
Shelton of Tibet. I
Printed in the United States of America
DEDICATED TO THOSE
WHOSE PASSION FOR SOULS
HAS LED TO THE CRUCIFIXION OF SELF
BY J. C. OGDEN
Dr. Albert Leroy Shelton. I loved him as my own
life. He was chief, pal, brother, friend, big boy ; Bert,
Shelly, Doc. We argued, debated, and threshed out
every point. We disagreed, agreed, quarreled, helped,
and loved each other. For sixteen years we traveled
and worked, together or separately as the circumstances
demanded, but always together in spirit and purpose.
He was like any human being in his likes and dis-
likes, and like any big boy in his shortcomings and
good qualities. He had no unnatural pretensions, but
was open, frank, and free-hearted. He was a sinner
like you and me, and made mistakes, and realized his
failures and weaknesses. He was very human. His
motives were sincere and genuine.
Tibetans, Chinese, Europeans, Americans, fellow-
missionaries, and all children, dogs, and cats loved him.
His faithful mule, Abe, loved him, too. His wife and
daughters adored him. Why all this love for such an
ordinary, everyday piece of human flesh?
The answer is that he had uppermost in his mind
and deepest down in his heart the Christ as his ideal,
and for Christ he lived and died. We all know this
to be true. It was his daily life and hope to bring
Christ to Tibet, fulfilling the desire of the Rijnharts,
Loftis, and the martyrs and workers of other missions
around Tibet ; and in this purpose God manifestly used
him. He must have been raised up of God for a defi-
nite purpose in Eastern Tibet. He prayed, "Lord, lead
us up to the foot of the cross, and make us go there
whether we want to or not ; and see that we ourselves
do not hide the cross from the view of others."
He showed, us in his dealings and experience with
Tibetan and Chinese robbers how to "love our ene-
mies" and make of them friends. In his ministry of
love he went about doing good, preaching, teaching,
and healing, after his ideal, the Christ. One of his
favorite hymns was, "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross."
His sense of humor served him in all dangerous
and impossible situations. He was "scared to death
most of the time," but one of the bravest of men. He
traveled over the main roads of a hundred thousand
square miles in Eastern Tibet, and worked among the
most savage tribes, making friends and opening the
way. Making a name for himself did not seem to be
in his mind. The idea of his being better than any-
body else did not occur to him. His "Go to it, Ogden,
you're doing fine," has helped turn my failure into
success many times. I miss him, and have suffered an
irreparable loss in his untimely and accidental death
at the hands of irresponsible savage robbers looking
for loot by the roadside.
"Over the top to the City of the Gods" was his aim.
Backed by his fellow-missionaries, and holding a con-
ditional permit from the secretary of the Dalai Lama,
he was still careful and cautious, and intended to pro-
ceed only as full permission and passports were
granted. He tried, and did his best. His "Come on"
and "Carry on" and his death as a martyr, have in-
spired us to reconsecrate our lives to this unfinished
task, and to press on with undying zeal to fulfill our
pledge to him and to Christ, for the sake of the coming
of the Kingdom of God in this roof garden of the world
known as Tibet. "Om mani padme hum" must come
to mean "Our Father, which art in heaven." In the
long-aged purpose of God through Jesus Christ our
Lord, we proclaim in burning words that Tibet must
be evangelized. A great price has been paid in time,
money, service, and life. We must not fail; we can-
not but go forward. We can and we will, no matter
what the cost.
As a mission, working in Eastern Tibet, we owe
a great debt of gratitude to all those who in any way
have contributed toward unraveling the mysteries of
this sealed land to governments, statesmen, consuls,
officials, soldiers, travelers, geographers, linguists, sci-
entists, explorers; to missionaries Nestorian, Catho-
lic, or Protestant ; to all who have given time, thought,
money, tears, sorrow, suffering, blood, or life, in their
striving to overcome the difficulties of prejudice, igno-
rance, hatred, travel, distance, altitude, temperature,
language, religion, and superstition; to all those who
have contributed to the relief of suffering, to the en-
lightenment and to the salvation of the Tibetan people,
to the care and uplift of the sick, poor, orphan, or aged,
through chapel, church, hospital, school, orphanage, or
home ; overcoming evil with good, loving enemies, and
turning murderers into friends. For these all are the
forerunners of the Christ to whom the doors of iron
and brass must open. All these have helped to usher in
this day of the Lord for this closed land now bought
with a price. In this day of preparedness, let us enter
and possess the land for truth and righteousness!
Then shall we turn this sad loss of our beloved Shel-
ton into great spiritual gain for ourselves, for the
Tibetans, and for the Kingdom of Heaven on the roof
of the world in the name of Christ!
J. C. O.
To the many letters and telegrams that reached us
and were waiting upon my return from India, where I
had been busy putting three Tibetan translations on
the press in Calcutta, I tried to answer by a line. From
every corner of the globe they came kindly, loving
messages. If they only could just have cured the
heartache ! To you all in this little note I wish to send
heartfelt thanks ; to those in India especially who kept
and loved me when the news came. It was then I
understood well what the suttee meant to an Indian
wife, and the pain of the burning would have felt
comfortable compared with the pain within. Unto
you all may the blessing of those who comfort come.
To the many who have helped with encouragement
when courage was gone, who said, Write, when every
nerve was numb, and the brain refused to obey, when
the world was all awry and I felt shelterless and alone,
wondering how I could keep the girls sweet and true
to their father's ideal for them, in spite of the light-
ness and frolic and rush around them, I express deep
gratitude. How hard it is to teach children to hold
fast to prayer and forgiveness of sins and love to
their fellows, when so many lose the best of life and
see only self magnified, forgetting that only in losing
self can be found the fullest usefulness. They said,
Write the world needs the book. I could not: the
heartache was too big. I could not see the lines, and my
heart was bitter that he in his unselfishness had been
taken out of the world when we needed him so.
On many of the things that Dr. Shelton has spoken
and written of in his own book, "Pioneering in Tibet,"
I have not touched. He makes his life so very simple,
and what anyone might do, did he but love enough. He
loved and gave himself, "losing himself that he might
be found." He marked in his books always the line,
"Not to be ministered unto, but to minister," and
verily he lived it, giving of himself in strength and
love and service to those who demanded or needed it.
To write this book at this time seems utterly im-
possible. I am so near what appears to be the great
thing, that the perspective is wrong, and I am entirely
out of focus. That one thing, big and overwhelming,
overshadows all else, so that I am unable to see any
resulting good. So many lives are broken, so much
of misery falls on the heads of the innocent, that men
may prosper, and nations be powerful. The world
seems a great machine, grinding out life for daily gain.
What blinds men of power, and those who hold
governments in leash, that makes it easier to kill than
to save, to torture than to soothe, to make of crushed
bodies and destroyed homes a pawn in a diplomatic
move? They have forgotten the Nazarene, and the
fact that the nation which calls itself Christian, and
acts pagan, casts the lie in the teeth of all Christendom.
A nation can reap what it sows as well as a man. The
eternal WHY stands prominently, arrogantly.
F. B. S.
I THE MAKING OF THE MISSIONARY .... 21
CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION. APPOINT-
MENT TO THE MISSION FIELD.
II UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU .... 27
BY STEAMER, HOUSEBOAT, AND SEDAN
CHAIR TO THE FIRST HOME.
III THE TRIP TO TYLIN 41
FIRST EXPERIENCES IN TACHIENLU. A
VISIT TO A WOUNDED MAN IN TYLIN
IV THE TIBETAN KING OF CHALA 55
A TIBETAN KING IN CAPTIVITY IN TA-
CHIENLU. A PONY RACE AS A FORM OF
V NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE . 62
THE TRIP TO MEET MR. AND MRS. OGDEN.
ILLNESS AND OTHER INCIDENTS THAT
FOLLOWED. DESCRIPTION OF A LAMA-
VI ON INTO TIBET 71
DR. SHELTON AND MR. OGDEN SEEK A
SUITABLE STATION FARTHER INLAND.
VISITORS IN TACHIENLU. REMOVAL TO
VII FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN 83
THE UNITED STATES AGAIN AFTER SEVEN
YEARS. INCIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY
BACK TO BATANG.
VIII SHANGCHEN AND DERGE 93
TROUBLE BETWEEN CHINESE AND TIBET-
ANS IN SHANGCHEN. THE DOCTOR'S
TRIP TO DERGE. VARIOUS INCIDENTS.
IX TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT ...... 103
TIBETAN TREATMENT OF DISEASE. PA-
TIENTS THAT WERE BROUGHT TO DR.
X MISSIONARIES TURN BUILDERS 119
SUITABLE HOSPITAL AND DWELLING
HOUSES ERECTED. CHARACTER SKETCHES
XI TRAVELING AMONG ROBBER TRIBES .... 127
UPRISING OF CHINESE SOLDIERS. DR.
SHELTON MAKES TWO JOURNEYS INTO
THE LAND OF ROBBERS.
XII SOME NATURE STUDIES IN TIBET 135
A SEARCH FOR GOLD. "THE GRASS-WORM."
DISTINCTIVE TIBETAN CUSTOMS.
XIII DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP 142
DR. SHELTON'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE
PEOPLE. HIS DIARY ON HIS TRIP TO
XIV PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 157
STORIES OF VARIOUS PATIENTS. THE
DOCTOR IS PRESENT AT THE TRIAL OF
XV TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS . . . . 168
RELATIONS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.
RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS AND CUSTOMS.
XVI PEOPLE AND EVENTS 182
TIBETANS WITH WHOM THE MISSION-
ARIES CAME IN CONTACT. THE FATE OF
THE INTERPRETER HO.
XVII GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK 193
INCREASING HOSTILITY BETWEEN TIBET-
ANS AND CHINESE. DR. SHELTON HELPS
TO SECURE A TRUCE.
XVIII CAPTURED BY BANDITS 205
IN YUNNAN PROVINCE. DR. AND MRS.
SHELTON AND FAMILY ARE ATTACKED BY
BANDITS, WHO CARRY HIM OFF. HIS
DIARY DURING CAPTIVITY OF MORE THAN
XIX FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD .... 246
EFFORTS IN THE UNITED STATES TO RE-
GAIN HEALTH. RETURN TO TIBET. WITH
LASSA AS HIS GOAL, KILLED BY BANDITS
XX THE AFTERGLOW
A TRIBUTE BY EDGAR DEWITT JONES, D.D. . 258
I LETTERS FROM DR. SHELTON ON HIS RETURN
JOURNEY TO BATANG 277
II THE STORY OF DR. SHELTON*S DEATH, TOLD IN
LETTERS FROM THE FIELD 283
III DR. A. L. SHELTON, MARTYR FOR TIBET . . . 30O
IV TRIBUTES TO DR. SHELTON FROM FRIENDS IN
VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD 3O2
DR. ALBERT LEROY SHELTON Frontispiece
CARGO BOAT ON THE UPPER YANG-TSE 32
A LITTLE ISLAND OF THE YANG-TSE 32
THE CHAIN BRIDGE AT LUTINGCHOW 33
A LAMASERY AT TACHIENLU 33
OUR FIRST HOME AT TACHIENLU 48
A CHINESE INN 48
THE KING OF CHALA's DAUGHTER 49
DR. SHELTON AND MANCHU OFFICIAL IN CHINESE DRESS . 49
BUILDING THE MISSIONARY HOUSES AT BATANG . . . 80
TIBETAN HOUSES OF YELLOW MUD 80
MISSION COMPOUND AT BATANG 8 1
OUR HOME AT BATANG 8l
A CARAVAN PREPARING TO CAMP FOR THE NIGHT .... 96
THE HOSPITAL AT BATANG 96
PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF DERGE 97
PALACE OF DERGE 97
DR. SHELTON AND THE HIGH PRIEST IN BATANG . . . 128
MISSIONARIES FEEDING THE BEGGARS OF BATANG AT
DR. SHELTON ON THE ROAD 129
GENERAL LU, OF BATANG 144
DR. SHELTON WAS EVER THE STUDENT 145
MOWING THE GRAIN IN THE BATANG FIELDS .... 224
ALL THRESHING IS DONE WITH FLAILS ON THE TOP OF
THE HOUSE 224
A CHORTEN 225
DR. SHELTON 240
SHELTON OF TIBET
Someone has said, if you would have your work
live, dip your pen in your heart's blood and write.
This have I done, and though this work may not live
may it help keep his life forever in the hearts of men.
SHELTON OF TIBET
THE MAKING OF THE MISSIONARY
CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION. APPOINTMENT TO THE
"Of doctors there are three classes:
first, second, and third. A first-class
doctor can absolutely cure; a second-
class doctor can cure in a day or a
month; if you take one dose of medicine
from a third-class doctor, a- hundred
other diseases appear."
Who can say from what remote ancestry or line of
ancestors comes the call for heroism, or the bent toward
cowardice? Once in a hundred years comes a great,
outstanding figure: great for his eloquence, great for
his poetry, great for his service to his nation, or for
his sacrifice for all men. Who can say what makes
one man great, or another less great? It only is so.
Who can say from whence comes the urge to go on
and on, until victory is won, or life is forfeited? Who
can say from what old line of heroes or pirates comes
the brain cell of adventure or service in this mixture
we call American? That the combination makes men
22 SHELTON OF TIBET
of heroic mold is true; men who are yet children in
the world's development of nations, but upon whose
shoulders in time to come will fall an adequate task.
Upon one such man sometimes fall the sins of the
world; on another, the making of a nation; on an-
other, the salvation of a race; and on another the
travail for souls.
A lad was born in the city of Indianapolis on June 9,
i%75> whose father was a carpenter. The young mother
of twenty, married some four years before, was busy
all day about her tasks of housekeeping, caring for
the new baby, perhaps dreaming dreams of his future,
and of what he might do some day. When the boy
grew a little bigger, always at his mother's heels he
tagged, bringing a book, and saying, "Please read me a
story." The mother read often, and told often, and
soon he began to learn his letters wherever he saw
them. The printing on the sacks of flour, headlines
of newspapers, advertisements all were grist as they
came to the eyes of the boy, and the alphabet was
learned by the time he was three.
Now the urge of the ancestors from the Old World
in the blood of the father, whose progenitors were
among the early settlers of Delaware, began to call
for the West, and a wider range and adventure that
must be undertaken. So into the West, that land of
dreams and possibilities, goes the small lad, to the
plains of Kansas.
Always and everywhere Nature builds into her peo-
ple, to those who look and listen, strength, or love,
or beauty; and always and everywhere do men learn
from their native soil the lesson God meant them to
THE MAKING OF THE MISSIONARY
have. Dwellers near the sea know the call and com-
fort of its strength, feel the fear and love, realize the
majesty of cruelty and the mercilessness of it, as well
as the soothing peace which is ground into the lives
of those who dwell near it or upon it.
To the forest dwellers come the love of the trees,
and of wild life, the listening for bird calls, the soft
rustling of leaves at night, the tender call of mating
creatures; upon these people is the imprint of caution
and boldness made, which is needed to cope with tame
life and the wild creatures as well.
And the mountains aye, "from the mountains
cometh help." Those who dwell there are great in
soul, and love and hate to the highest degree, giving
life itself for love, but knowing not the feeling of
forgiveness toward an enemy. These men are strong,
vigorous the survival of the fittest.
As the sands of the desert breed into its children
romanticism and cruelty, wonderful dreams or the
despair of utter desolation when they are alone in the
endless, depthless sand, so the vastness of the western
prairie gives to its children a strength, a vision, and a
struggle that makes them or mars them always.
For out of the necessary everyday hardships of liv-
ing comes either a character that fails, or one of iron
and steel, ready to wrest from the placid land food or
raiment whether it will or not, and as it calmly waits,
unruffled, in the hottest sun or fiercest storm, with
it battles the soul for what it must have for daily
use, learning the lessons that are taught for future
Into this great, unknown West came the little dark-
24 SHELTON OF TIBET
eyed lad, and began his fight. There was no water,
and water must be had. So the wagon was loaded
with barrels, hauled by the slow oxen, and water was
brought eight miles to the other starving animals and
the no less thirsty household. Sometimes the boy must
wait his turn, and would spend the night near the well,
when he had brought no food with him. Perhaps he
would catch a rabbit, roast it over a tiny fire, and eat
it without salt. Under the wagon often slept the lad,
and the coyotes sniffing around seemed like immense
wolves to the small boy. The sleepy oxen snuffed
and grunted and chewed their cuds the whole night
Sometimes the boy made snares of string, and caught
the hungry little gophers as they stuck their noses out
of the ground, hunting for food in their struggle to
live. Sometimes a rattler shook his warning, and was
killed by a crack of the long ox whip ; then the rattles
were cut off to make a hat band for the boy brave
enough to kill him. A little later, as the lad's legs
grew longer, he wanted to learn to shoot; the father
taught him how to aim with an old squirrel rifle that
he could not lift. Some time later a small "22" rifle
was his. Then the coyotes suffered, as a bounty was
given by the State for their scalps. Many snakes
were killed, until a cigar box was full of rattles of all
sizes, from the tiny button of a baby snake to the six-
teen or eighteen rattles of a big one.
The gophers got killed, and were taken home to his
pet cat that always came to meet him, sure of a big
supper when he should come. When there was more
than the cat wanted, they were dissected carefully by
THE MAKING OF THE MISSIONARY 25
this young embryo doctor, and when Tommy ate too
much, and had the stomachache, he heated hot blocks
and put them on him to ease his pain.
To any life friends count; but here and there one
or two stand out who help us over the hard places, and
cut the track for the next mile. Into the boy's life
went camp meeting, ball games, country school, country
church life, and stories of blood and thunder read by a
camp fire, near a dug-out cave of "adventure" where
the boys had their meeting place. Then one day came
the story of "Ben Hur," and the boy awoke and
dreamed of being a missionary to India; but that was
a long road to go, as he was but fifteen.
Teaching was the next step with clerking in the sum-
mer time, and at twenty he went to the Kansas State
Normal College this wild-looking Western collarless
lad. To wear a collar was to be "stuck-up" in Western
Kansas. Men didn't do it, only-preachers and "dudes."
Many smiled as the rough-looking boy entered the
Normal classes, striving in every way to remain and
to get what he desired. Some silken skirts drew aside,
and the stylish men refused to notice the janitor boy
and newspaper carrier. Only the teacher of mathe-
matics and those who saw America in the making
waited for the raw material to shape itself and make
a man worth while. Soon the clear-eyed lad was lead-
ing the classes in mathematics, and the silken skirts
and high collars were failing to make good. And this
same mathematics teacher, flinging erasers and chalk
at them, and tearing his hair at their stupidity, sent
them to the collarless lad to be tutored. Thus the way
26 SHELTON OF TIBET
Now the Spanish-Cuban war came along, and the
spirit of patriotism grew to fever heat in the schools-
of Kansas. A college company was formed, with one
of the Normal instructors as captain, and the lad was
one of the first volunteers. You know, all soldiers
must have a sweetheart, or they couldn't fight. And he
had one, but he found it out only a few days before he
left only six days, and all the courting was done by
letters. About a year the company was in Camp Alger,
in Virginia, and, much to the young man's disgust,
saw no real fighting. They were mustered out in the
fall, and he married the sweetheart in apple-blossom
time in Kansas. The next year both were back in
school again ; but about New Year's time a scholarship
from the Louisville Medical College came and it was
given to the boy by the President of the Normal
Then followed four years of medical work, and at
its close, the appointment to Nankin, China, by the
Foreign Christian Missionary Society of Cincinnati, A.
McLean, President. At this time Dr. Rijnhart was pre-
paring to return to Tibet, where she had lost her hus-
band and baby some time before, and was asking for
a doctor and his wife to go with her to the Tibetan
border. The young doctor was asked if he would
go. He said "Yes," and went. Often he said, "I
hoped to go to India, was appointed to China, and
wound up in Tibet perhaps the only field in which I
would have been able to work, as I felt absolutely un-
fitted for the other fields as time went on and I knew
more about them."
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU
BY STEAMER, HOUSE BOAT, AND SEDAN CHAIR TO THE
"It is better to be a subject in your
own country than a king in any other."
From the port of San Francisco out through the
Golden Gate harbor on to the wide Pacific, went the
small steamer China one fall day in 1903, bearing Dr.
Shelton and his wife. The island of Hawaii was the
first stopping place, and many new impressions came
thick and fast to the country-bred folk from Kansas.
Tropical sea birds and vegetation were seen. New and
queer things were found to eat. The magic mountain
with the wisps of smoke around the crater spoke of the
Goddess Pelee, whom the natives used to worship each
year by throwing the most beautiful maiden and her
handsome lover into the burning top, to appease her
wrath for another year, and keep the island safe. But
on again the good ship sailed. Japan came next,
looking like a perfect jewel in its setting of sea and sky
that is seen in no other place in the world. Its military
fortifications are of the finest, and the busy people live
and serve their country with a devotion and patriotism
that are unsurpassed. Out from the coast of Japan
28 SHELTON OF TIBET
into the Yellow Sea steamed the vessel toward the
coast of China. It was very soon discovered why it
was called "Yellow," for the great Yangtse through
its length of travel from beyond the little Batang sta-
tion brings down its loads of yellow dirt and pours them
into the sea, making the blue a murky yellow; and
on this muddy sea the boat sailed to the port of
The missionaries were expecting Dr. Shelton to
stay in Nankin, and were filled with consternation when
they found he was going on with Dr. Rijnhart to the
Tibetan border. Nankin seemed very far from any-
where ; what would farther on seem like ? As to just
where Tibet was, and how we were to get there was an-
other question, but we were to find out all about it.
Old China, the river, Tibet, and the people what
had the future in store?
Up as far as Ichang the trip was a simple matter.
Around the city of Ichang were graves innumerable.
Every place you looked you saw these little green
mounds, thousands and thousands of them. One day
as we passed the city wall we saw an old beggar sitting,
blind and patient, and utterly silent, and as we dropped
cash into his basket, the people said, "Don't do that.
He owns half the city now!"
The small steamers were clean and pleasant, with
good service and good food and no seasickness; and
China is always fascinating. Its river banks look
like green velvet, with here and there feathery bamboo
like bunches of ostrich tips. Villages are tucked away
amid century-old trees and flat-nosed junks go up and
down, man-pushed and pulled as they have been since
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU 29
time began or the Chinese race existed. Everything
seems always to have been in China. All things are
old, or should be. A new thing jars. You always ex-
pect the trees to be big and old and the cottages to be
old and gray. Arches of crumbling stone commemorate
some great deed or great man, and worn pagodas are
here and there, where gods might dwell. Grain or
rice is planted on every place where a seed could stick
and multiply. Junks carry their old and weather-
stained sails, patched until you cannot find a sign of
the original one. A new sail makes a startling white
blaze on the landscape. A new house stands out, and
does not seem to belong to China.
Legends of the river were many. Here was the place
where a steamer went down; all were saved except
the captain, but he refused to leave his boat, and no
trace was ever seen of either of them again. Two
big rocks, called "The Two Orphans," stood out in
the middle of the stream; a small temple built upon
one made you wonder how they ever got the stones
and material at that height to build it. But it was a
grand place for meditation for Buddhist priests.
Nineteen years ago there were not so many small
steamers on the upper Yangtse and going up the
great river was rather a tedious affair. At Ichang, a
thousand miles inland, we had to take a house boat
and be pulled the rest of the way up the river. Square-
nosed it was, like the rest of them, high in the back,
somewhat resembling a duck, and in a little room at the
rear the captain and his wife dwelt. The middle part
was partitioned off into three or four rooms for the
rest of the party, while the long deck in front was
30 SHELTON OF TIBET
where the coolies stretched at night. Some boards
were laid for a bed, as there were no cots. The floor
was bare and the flimsy walls felt as though a breath
would blow them down. All the cargo was under the
floor of the boat. Home food was not to be had no
coffee, no cheese, milk only out of a tin. The food
was plenty, as pork and chickens and eggs could be
bought, but it didn't taste like America.
The day of starting came, and the rooster who had
been sitting on the prow, tied by a string, was killed.
The blood and a few feathers which were stuck on the
front of the boat were made an offering to the river
gods, and the boat started up river, its big, clumsy oars
pulled by its crew of thirty or forty men. But that did
not last long, for when the swift water comes the
men must be put on shore, the long bamboo ropes un-
rolled, and they must pull. With a short strap over the
shoulder, and a "cash" at the end of it to give it weight,
each man threw it around the long rope and pulled
with his hand almost touching the ground, a task-
master at his back to drive, and, if necessary, to whip
if a man was found to be shirking. So, with a lot of
noise and rhythmic song, they pulled slowly ahead. The
boat passed a rock in a dangerous curve, and each man
tried to toss a pebble in a water-worn cup upon it, to
insure him the arrival of a son upon his return.
Some days were calm, with no wind. Sometimes
there were places where the men could not pull, as the
great cliffs of the gorges were perpendicular, and there
was no foothold to be had. Then they sat on the
prow and whistled for the wind devils to come and fill
the sails and help the boat onward. These gorges form
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU 31
some of the most magnificent scenery of the world,
tmequaled anywhere. The "wind-box" gorge is one
where the wind seems to be bottled sure enough.
Here they put up a sail, the men have a rest, and the
boat goes with the wind. There the wind devils are
It is well that travelers do not know the danger of
the treacherous rocks and whirlpools. Sometimes as
the coolies drag the ropes through great gashes in the
rocks, made by ages of the same kind of travel, they
clamber over paths that seem impossible, crossing first
to one side of the river and then to the other, where
even a goat would find it hard to get a foothold. Some-
times the ropes break, and back the boat crashes, turn-
ing round and round until a current of water hauls
it in a lucky inlet or the "devils" lead it on a rock and
it is smashed. Many wrecks can be seen along the river.
From the banks one can see sugar dripping from tin
cans, oil spilled, cargoes of cotton drying in the sun,
and lamp-wicks, made of the weed-pith used by the
Chinese, spread out to dry. Sometimes a man is
knocked off the cliffs by the ropes, and falls into the
river, but the boat never stops; they do not even at-
tempt to save him it is impossible. Sometimes the
men are badly hurt, and there the Doctor had his first
opportunity to help the people. Always and every day
he was out among the men, some with crushed arms
and broken bones and sore feet, following the boat all
day for the pittance of cash that would be theirs at
night. When he came back to the boat, he would say,
"Oh, if I just had nine lives, that I might spend one
going up and down among these thousands of river
32 SHELTON OF TIBET
coolies to help them and heal them and preach to
them, for they have no chance at all !"
One month of this kind of travel brought us to the
port of Chungking, a great, crowded, dirty city. Some
very fine hospital and church work is located in this
place. We saw the small boats plying the river in their
traffic for slave girls, to be sold in Shanghai and other
cities. Here we had the story of a girl who cut out a
piece of her liver in a fit of filial piety, to feed her sick
father. The Chinese doctor told her that was all that
could save him, but she lived under a German doctor's
care. Skin diseases were everywhere ; blind and leprous
beggars were at every turn, it seemed. The destitu-
tion and filth and sin were beyond belief. What the
old river carries and knows about this city and could
tell if it could talk, would be much. Up the steps and
through the old city wall many feet thick, which has
stood for centuries, are the water coolies, splashing
water as they go, carrying the city's supply from the
old river. Very necessary is that dirty water.
Here another house boat was taken, a little smaller
than the first, as above this point the cliffs are not so
steep, nor the rapids so fierce, and travel is easier.
Along the banks men are using cormorants for fishing.
On the small boat sits the forlorn black bird, with a
band around his throat so that he cannot swallow the
fish. He must always be hungry, or he will not fish.
Another time one sees otters that are throttled and
forced to go after the fish. Mercy seems to have gone
from the earth ; all things seem pitiless and men most of
all. Always and always, wherever we went there were
misery and pain and suffering, especially among the
ARGO BOAT ON THE UPPER YANG-TSE
LITTLE ISLAND OF THE YANG-TSE, ONE OF THE
THE CHAIN BRIDGE AT LUTINGCHOW, WEST CHINA.
THIS SWINGING BRIDGE IS FULLY FIFTY FEET
ABOVE THE RIVER AND OVER THREE HUNDRED
A LAMASERY AT TACHIENLU
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU
women and children, and there was just one thing to
aid. That was opium, and it was everywhere. Perhaps
it is a feast day and the Doctor has promised some pork
if the men pull well, and so they joyfully and cheer-
fully sing away as they row, thinking of the meat to
go with the rice and vegetables at night. Slowly the
journey is made, and almost two months are gone
before the end of the river journey is in sight. The
muddy Yangtse has been left, and the boat enters the
little river near Kiating, where the water is clear, and
the stones can plainly be seen on the bottom of the
It was with a great deal of rejoicing that we finished
the water journey and could get upon earth again. We
were glad indeed that the land looked and felt as it
did in dear old Kansas, though most of it did not smell
the same. A new order of travel must be arranged
now. We were to be carried in sedan chairs, but as
Dr. Shelton could not stand it to be carried by men,
he put his coat and medicine bags in the chair and
walked along the road.
Such a beautiful land it is! The little houses, the
trim, neat little dooryards, a water buffalo nipping
the grass along the banks of the rice fields, tended by
a child sitting on his back. The tiny yard is as smooth
and clean as it can be swept. The mud-beaten rice-
threshing floor, flowering fields of mustard and beans
something on every inch of ground that can be used.
There is only one thing to mar, and that is your sense
of smell, or the horrible "cess-pools of iniquity,"
which are at the end of each house, or in a field, or in
the backyard, filled with dissolved human filth and
34 SHELTON OF TIBET
all the animal filth they can pick up and swarming
with maggots, and perhaps a man or woman is carrying
a couple of bushels of this mixture in buckets, with a
dipper decorating each tiny plant with a perfumed
bath of the liquid.
Some of the Chinese women have never seen a for-
eigner before, and come near to investigate the queer
shoes and clothes of the foreign women. Some of them
think the white faces very strange, and the eyes and
hair rather queer, especially if they were not black.
But the plains are soon crossed, and the mountains come
next. Leaving the tropical ferns and bamboos, we go
on up the mountain road of stone steps, climbing slowly,
the chair-men swinging the chair with a kind of rhythm.
The bamboos grow smaller and smaller, the ferns dis-
appear ; it is cold, and snow is on the ground. It is the
last big climb just before we reach the top. The
Doctor has gone ahead of the chairs, and has some hot
soup ready for us, and the men eat or smoke opium to
prepare for the last hard pull.
Up and up we go, and to the Kansas bred the moun-
tains seem very high. On the top the men grow very
quiet, and fail to call to each other or to sing the wind
is roaring, the tops of the chairs blow loose, and we
wonder if we will go over the side of the mountain and
land on the tree-tops, or on the cloud banks, which
look very soft out there. What is the matter with the
men ? They never do anything without noise, and now
they are so still. Oh, they are afraid they will rouse
the wind devils who live on the top of each pass if
they speak it is a good thing they did not rouse any
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU 35
more than were already awake, or the chairs would
surely have blown away.
Two of these high mountain passes were on the road
between Yachow and Tachienlu, and several smaller
passes were traversed during the eight days' journey.
The lesser passes were not so cold, as they were not so
high, but were about as dangerous. There were often
landslides ahead or behind the chairs, and as we passed
along and jarred the loose shale, the stones often rolled
down the steep slopes of the mountain. It seemed often
that we would never get anywhere, as the path ahead
seemed to run into the mountain, and one would be sure
there was an end of the trail; but somehow the sure-
footed, patient men found the way through, or over,
or around ; and the chairs still went on and on.
It is over this trail in snow and cold, rain and sleet
and burning sun, that coolies carry their tea for use in
Tibet. Old men, young men, boys, and a few women,
carry these loads of coarse tea of a very inferior qual-
ity. In preparing the tea, it is swept up with the sticks
and trash and coarse tea leaves of all kinds, and then
steamed and pressed into what is called "brick tea" for
the Tibetans. The Chinese say it is good enough for
the Tibetans and, strange to say, the latter prefer it to
a better quality. It is put into splint bundles, weigh-
ing from twenty to forty pounds each, and carried on
the back. Little boys, carrying three or four small
bundles, trudge along by their father or adopted father,
who carries from two hundred to two hundred fifty
pounds on his back. A small stick, with a crosspiece
at one end and an iron-shod point at the other, is used
to place under the load, shifting it for a rest to get
36 SHELTON OP TIBET
the weight from the back for a few minutes. If one
of these carriers gets a shove, or loses his balance in
any way and falls over, he cannot lift the load or regain
it, but must have help to get it on his back again.
Their food often is only a slab of corn-bread. The
meal for this is mixed with water and a little salt, and
heated through, but the bread is solid enough to be
stuck behind some of the bamboo splints of a load.
Sometimes they use only opium to give the required
strength, and require little food. One can sometimes
see little brown opium lamps swinging from the load.
There is a long chain bridge just before reaching
Tachienlu, with no support underneath, held only at
the ends. Three or four chains make the floor of the
bridge, with a few boards sprinkled oh them. Over
this the men go like sheep, one following the other. If
one stops to rest, the others in line do the same thing.
A story is told that one time a great line of coolies
came to this bridge and started across. A chain gave
way and into the water went the men and their loads.
There was no opportunity to save them, as the loads
would drag them under at once, and it is almost impos-
sible to get the arms from the straps. For a chair this
journey is eight days ; for the tea carriers from fifteen
to twenty days. Another story is told of a great land-
slide which came tumbling down the mountain and
completely covered up alive some tea carriers who were
resting. Often the chair-men step over a dead comrade
as he lies in the road his cross stick, his wooden sad-
dle, and the ropes tied to his back. His load has been
delivered, but he had died "in harness."
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU 37
Legend, story, and tragedy are on every inch of the
Chinese narrow-pathed highway. Across the chain
bridge the travelers go, and Tachienlu is only two days
away. We pass some queer round stone walls, which
are like stone circles on the flat bed of the river valley,
and look somewhat like the remains of old fortifications.
Asking about them, we were told that Tibet reached
down as far as Yachow at one time and as the Tibetans
retreated against the aggressiveness of the Chinese,
these were the remains of the old forts where fighting
had been done.
One more day's journey and the stopping place is
reached. The stop for the last night is at a small
village nestling between huge mountains the lowest
place in altitude we were to see for some years, as the
road goes higher and higher this last day. Here the
Tachienlu River roars by, throwing its white spray into
the air as it strikes bowlders weighing several tons
which have fallen into the river bed. Another river is.
near, but more quiet, and here the fishing huts are, and
the fishermen. This little village is one day from
Tachienlu, and some years later was a refuge when
the high altitude got too hard for us. Here we once
tried to raise tomatoes, but the people pulled them
green, and then said they were not fit to eat, and de-
stroyed them. Here we heard the story of a man who,,
during the day, had begged some two hundred cash.
He left the town in the evening, but was found dead
the next morning on the hill path. Leopards had killed
him, they said, but leopards do not kill for cash. A
wedding was to take place in this little village, and the
33 SHELTON OF TIBET
poor bride had cried all day because she didn't want
to leave her home her father and mother and brothers
and sisters. She couldn't be blamed, could she, when
she had never seen the man who was to come for her ?
Here a funeral was held, and a pig was killed and the
whole of it offered to the spirit of the dead man, while
over the eyes of the hideous paper gods, mounted on
the doors, they pasted paper, so that the man's soul
would be allowed to go out and not remain in the
house to haunt them.
One day there was an eclipse of the sun, and the
noise outside was dreadful. Just what was happening
we did not know, but looking out we saw a long line
of Chinese marching up the street, each with a bell, a
gong, a drum, or a pan, making all the racket possible,
expecting the clamor to scare the heavenly dog so he
would not swallow the sun. Soon he began to spit
it out, and the noise ceased.
Tachienlu at last. Hearts beat fast as we near the
city, the chair-men marching rapidly in the light snow.
Here we got the first home mail and some rooms in a
Tibetan inn, and we were in our first home in a foreign
land. The Doctor was so tall that he bumped his head
on all the door tops, and most of the roof, and stubbed
his toes on all the big four-inch boards in the doorways.
The floors must not be scrubbed because they never
had been, but we were landed safely, and ready to begin
work. This was March 15, 1904.
Language study and medical work began at once,
and there was plenty to be done. Dr. Rijnhart opened
a dispensary and left Dr. Shelton free to study the
UP THE YANG-TSE TO TACHIENLU 39
language, except on the surgical cases, which she did
not want to attempt. Study was his main work, how-
ever, and he put in five hours a day at it ; but there was
a bit of difference between the colloquial and the clas-
sical. The colloquial language was the language used
on the street altogether, and the classical language was
known mainly by the priests, so that when the Doctor
studied the classical language and attempted to ask a
man if he was ill, he could not make him understand.
He had to learn the colloquial language in order to
make himself understood. The language was not diffi-
cult to read, but he did not talk as fast as he wished,
nor understand as clearly. He found he must go out
among the people and talk to all of them, trying to un-
derstand what they said to him and to make them un-
In the meantime a native house had been rented, and
Dr. Shelton had men working at it. They were very
deliberate, so he decided to help them. He secured a
knife, water, and soap, and proceeded to wash the sev-
eral hundred layers of Chinese paper off the walls,
meanwhile scrubbing and scraping the dirt of ages off
the floor until the house began to smell sweet and clean.
We could step out the back door on to the mountain,
one wall of the lower story being the side of the hill.
There was a court-yard so tiny that a cat would have
been killed if you had tried to swing it by the tail
but it was home! Some furniture had to be made, as
we had none. We were also without a stove. Strange
chairs and strange beds and dressers were made by
the Chinese carpenters, but with matting on the floor
and curtains at the tiny windows, we felt clean and
40 SHELTON OF TIBET
ready for the new guest. On August 25, 1904, there
came to us a dark-eyed baby girl, with her father for
her doctor and Mrs. Rijnhart for her nurse. The
first evening, as she smiled at her. father, we named
her Dorris Evangeline.
THE TRIP TO TYLIN
FIRST EXPERIENCES IN TACHIENLU. A VISIT TO A
WOUNDED MAN IN TYLIN GOLD FIELD
"A man's lawsuit is like a rock, it
never grows old; a woman's quarrel like
a prayer-flagstaff, it never wears out."
The city of Tachienlu is situated at the head of a
valley something over eight thousand feet in altitude,
and is crowded in between mountains with a roaring
river, which winds around and through it. The snow
falls early, and stays late, and it rains almost every
day in the summer time. A dreadful shut-in place it
seemed to those who had seen only plains and broad
fields. It is located on the extreme western border of
the province of Szechuen, and separates Tibetan terri-
tory and Tibetan life from that of the Chinese. Be-
yond this city is Tibet, with its mountains and rivers
and valleys almost unknown and unexplored, a different
land and different customs entirely.
The first winter in the city was a severe one. Dr,
Shelton had bought a little heating stove from a mis-
sionary family residing in Tachienlu, who kindly let
us have it, but it would not warm the room which had
cracks in the walls and floors. Many nights the Doctor
42 SHELTON OF TIBET
sat -with his overcoat on, reading and keeping up the
fire with wood, while Dorris and I were shivering in
bed, for with all the covers we had, and then the rugs
over us, we were still cold.
One day, in the midst of work, a blare of trumpets
was heard, and the Chinese official came to pay a call
of respect to Dr. Shelton, because he was an American,
for the return of the indemnity money from America
for the trouble during the Boxer Rebellion. He took
Dorris in his arms, and she proceeded to pull his beard.
He looked at her and said that for a lesser offense she
might have lost her head in the olden times, for it was
considered a great disgrace for a Chinaman to have his
Every day was filled with study and work and med-
ical cases of all kinds. Sometimes an epidemic of
suicide would strike the town and there would be from
two to six cases in a single night, their friends coming
post haste for the "water gun" (hypodermic) to save
them. No man wants his enemy to sit on his doorstep
and die. He would be haunted forever and have to
pay the funeral expenses as well, which is no light
matter in China.
Strange characters, these Chinese. They will be
frightened at nothing, until they are of a ghostly green
pallor, or take opium and jump into the river over the
loss of a few "cash." We often wondered why they did
not do more for the destitute or the sick that were
near them, but when we learned that they might be
blamed for the death of such a one and made to pay
for a feast and burial should anyone care to accuse
them, it did not seem so strange.
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 43
In the fall of 1904 we were looking for a couple of
Tibetan boys to adopt and train as evangelists and
doctors for future time. The little school was very
good, and many were interested in coming to church,
but they were mostly Chinese. The children every-
where were wild as partridges. If Dr. Shelton pointed
his camera at them, they flew indeed to cover, and no
pictures were to be had. Our old Tibetan teacher ob-
jected a long time before he would consent to have his
photograph taken. We finally found out why. He said
he thought the soul was taken out of the body and put
upon the card. A long time afterward, when we saw
Tibetans worship the many pictures of their gods and
goddesses, believing them to be the real spirits, we
understood his reason.
One day a lad, dirty, ragged, and forlorn, walked
into the compound with a note from another mission-
ary, a two days' journey away, who had sent him to us,
knowing we were looking for a boy. We asked him of
his home and life and family, and if he wanted to stay
with us. His story was this: His father had been a
small Chinese official, and his mother a Tibetan woman.
They were both dead, and he and his little brother were
starving. He had been given to the priesthood, but
had run away to get work, in order to feed himself and
his little brother. He had an older brother who was a
gambler, but he did nothing for them. The lad was
about thirteen years old. We took him in, had him
shaved and washed, put clean clothes on him, and kept
him. Then he brought his little brother, who was
very small, about six years old, and covered with vermin
44 SHELTON OF TIBET
and filth. Him we also took into our house, and they
were both placed in school.
One day a tea coolie came into the dispensary with
his leg broken, the bone sticking out through the flesh.
It took Dr. Shelton three hours to fix it, but it was
done, and the man recovered. Another day they came
for him to go and see a Tibetan woman who had a
baby three days old. The afterbirth had failed to
come, and she had not urinated for three days. An
old shoe was tied to the cord, asking it to walk out of
itself, as the Chinese custom is. She was in a filthy,
dark house on some dirty rags on the ground, and
the Doctor had to use a lamp to see at all. The little
baby had not been washed, and was tied up in a dirty,
half -rotten sheep-skin. Marvelous to relate, after his
care they both lived.
Another day they came for him, and told him that a
little girl had fallen into the river. The house was
built jutting over the Tachienlu River, and the little
girl of five had slipped, and fallen in beneath the house,
the swift water carrying her away at once. The mother
jumped in after her to save her, and was immediately
washed away. The body of the child lodged on a small
island in the middle of the river, and Dr. Shelton waded
out to get the body, hoping there might be some chance
to save the little life. The water was only waist deep,
but the current was so swift and powerful that, strong
man as he was, he came near being swept away be-
fore he reached the bank. The little child was dead.
Its life had been beaten out on the stones by the swift
water. The mother's body was found miles below.
About this time, the gold fields in Tylin were opened
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 45
by the Chinese, and they were mining the gold and
taking it all. The Tibetans objected to this, as they
said some should be left "for seed," so they fought.
The Tibetans were victorious for the time being, and
the Tachienlu official sent soldiers to quell the disturb-
ance. Dr. Shelton asked to go to the scene of the
trouble, as he was sure he would be needed; but the
official refused to allow it.
The Tibetans sent this threat to the town: "We are
coming to take the city, coming in sheepskin gowns, but
will leave in silk and satin." Soon many of the
wounded came in, and Dr. Shelton was busy. Wounded
as they were in neck and back and arms, you would
wonder how they had ever been able to walk the long
distance and come to the dispensary for help. Many
rumors were rife, and the Chinese were sending their
wives and daughters out of the city, and hiding their
valuables in safe places. But it was only a tempest in a
teapot, and it was soon over.
Later, when the fighting was ended in Tylin, an
official was sent there to take charge. One Sunday
morning, while Dr. Shelton was still in bed, one of the
schoolboys came in, sat down on the bed, and asked him
to go to Tylin, as the official there had been shot ac-
cidentally through the neck. It was about a hundred
miles to the northeast of Tachienlu, and considered
a five days' journey. Dr. Shelton said that he would
go at once, if they would make arrangements to carry
his bed and provisions. He put his raincoat and in-
struments and medicines in his saddle bags and on the
mule, and started about nine o'clock. In an hour or
two the man carrying the bed, rifle, and ammunition
46 SHELTON OF TIBET
started, but the Doctor never saw them again until
four days later. About ten o'clock Dr. Shelton and
the guide stopped to eat and feed the horses. The man
who had done the shooting had sent the big mule for
the Doctor to ride, as it was his business to save the
man he had shot if he could. About four o'clock it
began to rain, and the Doctor put on his raincoat, but
it poured and poured, with a strong wind blowing.
Before dark he was soaked through and through.
They traveled until about half past eight at night,
and came to the only habitation they had seen on the
road after the first few miles from Tachienlu. It was
a low, squat Tibetan house of one story. A man came
out with a pitch-pine light to show them the way inside.
As they stepped inside the door, their feet sank ankle
deep in manure, for the horses and cattle were in the
house as well as the people. In the same room were
three big open fires of wood, and on the dirt floor about
twelve Tibetans around each fire. The house was filled
with smoke. The Doctor was supposed to stay there
for the night. He unsaddled the mules and fed them,
took off his wet clothes while the Tibetans helped him
to dry them, had some supper, and tried to sleep on two
or three boards on the ground. Sleep was out of the
question, as fleas were there in quantities. After try-
ing it for an hour, he arose, looked out, and seeing
that it was not raining, told the guide they would go on.
They started some time after ten o'clock, but the
road led through big trees dripping with water, and
they were soon wet to the skin again. The moon shone
brightly, but it was very cold. As they came to the
foot of the pass, it began to rain once more. After
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 47
two hours' climb up a steep mountain, dismounting
many times for fear of the holes and ruts full of water,
they came to the top of the pass, which was fairly level.
They saw the first of two lakes on the top of this pass
about sixteen thousand feet high. The Doctor's mule
here lay down, as he was pretty tired. After passing
the second lake, the Doctor saw that they were fed by a
glacier about two thousand feet above them, which
could be dimly seen in the moonlight. The guide's mule
was tired out, too, and refused to go farther. But they
were going down now, and there was not so much
danger of getting lost as on the top of the pass, so Dr.
Shelton went on alone until about three o'clock in the
morning, then stopped and waited fifteen or twenty
minutes for the guide to come up. But he did not
come, so he went on without him, and did not see him
again until the next day at sundown.
About five o'clock daylight began to come. Both he
and the mule were tired, and wet, and sore, and cold,
and he was ready to sleep now, in any place fleas or
no fleas, or whatnot; but no more houses were to be
found. Now two big Tibetan dogs came running
from a camp, and as these dogs are about the size of
bears, he rode with his pistol in his hand, so that they
would not jump up at him and "eat him alive."
The sun was an hour high when the rain stopped
and the Doctor began to get dry, and about eight o'clock
he came to the village of Tylin, where the wounded
man was, and where the gold camp was located. A
lamasery was here, where three hundred lamas (priests),
stayed, who were exceedingly hostile, because they had
never seen a foreigner before, and they didn't know the
48 SHELTON OF TIBET
Doctor nor what he was doing there. He inquired
where the camp could be found. Finally one lama
pointed toward the north. The Doctor, followed the
road for a few miles, but could find no settlement or
village. He finally came to a boy gathering brush for
a fire, and offered him a rupee if he would guide him to
the road. As he had no money with him, he gave the
boy his pocket knife for security. The mule refused
to carry him any longer, so he led him, and following
the boy in half an hour came to camp. A number of
soldiers were sent to meet him, and he was led at once
to the man who was wounded. He had made the trip
in twenty-three hours instead of five days, had twice
gotten soaked with the rain and dry again, and was so
tired he could hardly stand.
The Doctor's first care was to look 'after the wound.
It was some four or five days old : an ugly hole in the
neck where the bullet had gone in, laying bare the
carotid artery, and coming out at the back of the neck.
Both openings were sealed up tightly with plasters of
pitch, as is the Chinese custom, and both were full of
pus. He syringed the wound and drew gauze through
it, then packed it with iodiform gauze and gave the
man some medicine so he could sleep. The man who
had done the shooting now took the Doctor and gave
him a change of clothes and got him some breakfast.
He rolled him into his own bed about noon, and he slept
until after dark. Then he got up for some supper, saw
the sick man, and went to bed again, sleeping until the
next morning about nine o'clock.
The guide arrived that evening, though they did not
expect him until the next morning. By that time the
OUR FIRST HOME AT TACHIENLU, THE BIRTH-
PLACE OF DORRIS AND DOROTHY
A CHINESE INN ON THE MOUNTAIN PASS LEAD-
ING TO BATANG. WHEN WE STOP THE CHAIR
PORTERS SQUAT DOWN TO REST
THE KING OF CH ALA'S DAUGHTER, AT HER
DR. SHELTOX AND MAXCHU OFFICIAL IN CHINESE
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 49
wound was doing well draining properly and the
man felt better. The Doctor rested that night, and the
next day gave medicine to a few sick people. He ran
out of gauze and some necessary medicines, and the
big man sent a soldier to Tachienlu for more supplies.
The fourth day after starting, the man arrived with
the Doctor's bed and the Winchester rifle. All but four
of the cartridges were used up.
The Doctor explored the village and the gold camp,
and gave medicine to many of the people. He also
hunted for marmots and a few grouse, and kept the
official in fresh meat, which was a scarce article there.
He stayed for eleven days, and the people made his stay
most pleasant, and gave him the best they had. The
place was so high that no vegetables would grow, so all
that were had must be carried from Tachienlu. The
Doctor taught the man's secretary how to dress the
wound, and got ready to return home. The wound
was from a 44-caliber Winchester, which a man in
another room had been handling carelessly when it
went off accidentally. The owner had heard a man
scream, and rushed in to find the victim on the floor,
As the Doctor left, the patient asked what the charge
was. The Doctor explained that there were no charges,
but that he could donate what he liked to the little dis-
pensary. He gave two hundred rupees, and asked, "Do
you get any of this?" Dr. Shelton told him No, that
it was only to help pay for the medicines which he
used for poor people who could not pay for themselves.
But the man said, "I want you to have something for
yourself." Just at this point a soldier came along
50 SHELTON OF TIBET
leading a mule, fine, black, and stout. "I am giving
this to you," the official said, "to show my gratitude
and thankfulness." So the Doctor rode home on his
own mule, escorted by a guard of soldiers.
While at the gold mines, he studied the method of
mining. The mines were only holes along the bank of
the stream. The workmen took the dirt up in baskets,
carried it to the water and washed it out in small pans.
After the fighting, this official had been sent in to
take charge of all the gold mined. All the gold had to
be given to him. The miner was credited with sixty
per cent, and a tax of four per cent went to the govern-
ment, but in spite of all the watching and all the guards,
a lot of the gold was never turned in. The best nug-
gets were stolen and hidden, so that about only half
reached the official.
They occasionally found a thief, as was the case
while the Doctor was there. One of the miners had
been turning in nearly an ounce each day, but this day,
when he came to have it weighed, he had only one
fifth of an ounce. The big man at once ordered him
taken into custody, called the inspectors, asked if he
had found no gold that day, and ordered him to be
beaten a thousand blows. The man was thrown down
on his face and held by one man sitting on his shoulders
and a man holding each leg. His trousers were turned
down over his thighs ready for the beating. The bam-
boo used was light and very limber, and the blows were
not heavy. It seemed at first that the beating would
not amount to much. However, at the end of three
hundred blows, the skin was slightly abraded; and
the man was screaming and howling ; at the end of five
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 51
hundred, the limbs were beginning to swell. At seven
hundred blows they were black, and at the end of a
thousand they were beaten into a mass of bruised flesh
that shivered like jelly when struck. After the beating,
the man was turned loose and helped to his tent. In
a few minutes he returned, bringing the rest of the
day's washing, something over an ounce of gold. He
was then expelled from camp.
The Doctor, on his return from the mines, was
tanned as brown as wind and sun could make him. He
had had no fresh vegetables, but had eaten salted and
dried turnip parings. Even the supply of these was
scant, but he had had plenty of mutton, yak meat
(which is like beef), and pork. He was glad to get
home, and we were glad to have him.
During that spring, my arms were paralyzed, and I
was rather helpless, so with the work inside and out-
side, and with the care of the baby, Dr. Shelton was
pretty busy. As I got no better, Dr. Rijnhart, baby,
and I were ordered out of the high altitude to the
little village away where it was much lower and warmer.
We lived in a Mohammedan inn, with dirt floors and
a "pool of iniquity" at the back, and where the goats
slept at night. We were lonely, but sometimes the
Doctor came down for a day or two to see us, and
we had a happy time. He and Dorris built forts out of
stones, and shot them down with rocks. They watched
the men fish in the Utong River, putting the worms in
their mouths and blowing them up for bait, and then
holding them in their mouths until they were ready
to use them. Dorris ate all the dirt she could find, and
had great romps with her father, but these play-times
52 SHELTON OF TIBET
seemed very short, as the Doctor soon must return to
work. When this time came, he would mount his
horse, give the baby a ride, and then go on. As we
came back, the sun still shone, but I think not so
The time came to return home to Tachienlu and go
on once more. One morning the postmaster came run-
ning into the house with a face as gray as could be, tell-
ing us that the French priest who had lived among
the Tibetans at Batang for thirty years had been killed.
He also said that another one was missing, and the
man sent by the Emperor to Batang had been cut into
Just how much was true could not then be known,
but it meant again another Chinese army to quell the
Tibetans and conquer them, and they were still send-
ing to the Doctor for medicines for those who were
wounded in the last fighting, afraid to come themselves
into the city for fear of the Chinese. It meant a new
commander for the province and its border, and we
soon heard of his coming. From the top of the moun-
tain back of the house we could see them in their red
coats come marching in, in single file, along the moun-
tain road, about two hundred of them this time. People
were waiting to see the commander, and after a three
hours' wait, during which they said he had stopped to
smoke his opium, he came in riding in a green-topped
chair with elegant chair-bearers, who did not allow his
chair to tip a bit, as it might cost them their heads.
This time the Tibetans were to be taught to yield
to Chinese control. War was always around the edges,
cases of all kinds coming every day to the dispensary.
THE TRIP TO TYLIN 53
Here were old wounds of many days' standing and
amputations of frozen limbs, fingers, and toes to be
looked after. The Doctor cut off in one day thirty-one
of these from a group of Chinese soldiers who had
come out of Tibet through the snow and the cold.
Then there were soldiers who had deserted and been
caught. These would come into the dispensary literally
soaked with blood, as one punishment was to cut off
both ears close to the head. Another form of punish-
ment was pinning the top and the lobe of the ear to-
gether with an arrow, and making the men march
through the streets, bearing a placard telling that they
were deserters. Many soldiers came out of Tibet
desolate and starving, begging a few cash to get them
back home again. If, for any reason, they couldn't
keep up with the army, through legs and arms being
frozen, making them unfit to do their work, or if they
became ill, they were shortly dismissed with no cash
and no place to go.
One man came to the dispensary with both hands
frozen. Doctor asked him how it had happened, and
he told him that he had been forced to hold the officer's
horse for hours in the cold, on a fifteen-thousand foot
pass, while the officer went inside the rest house to
smoke his opium.
Dr. Shelton helped many of these unfortunates to get
back home into warm China, and they seemed very
grateful indeed. Soon came rumors of more fighting,
and the report was that the Chinese had been defeated.
The officials would not admit it, for fear that if it was
true a general exodus would take place, but the truth
came out a little at a time as the wounded stragglers
54 SHELTON OF TIBET
reached Tachienlu. The telegraph line had been built
to Batang, but it was very difficult to keep it repaired.
The Chinese said that the Tibetans cut it, and they
would capture a Tibetan, whether he was guilty or not,
and hang his head up in a basket on a telegraph pole,
as a warning to others. However, we heard that the
Chinese cut the line about as often as the Tibetans did,
so that the deserters could not be so easily caught.
This hate between the Chinese and the Tibetans breaks
out periodically in battles and rebellion.
THE TIBETAN KING OF CHALA
A TIBETAN KING IN CAPTIVITY IN TACHIENLU. A PONY
RACE AS A FORM OF WORSHIP
"At a great height, the sun, moon, and
stars meet. At a great depth, the fish
and hook meet. At a great speed, the
horse's mouth and the bridle meet. At
a great slowness, the stick and the back
of the ox meet." TIBETAN PROVERB.
Dorris was beginning to crawl by this time, and went
sidewise like a little crab. We wanted a pet for her
now, and we got an ugly, funny little beast, about the
size of a big peanut, that had to be washed every day,
but we fed him plenty, so he did not look quite like a
starved Chinese dog.
The first baptisms occurred about this time three
people, two women and one man. Later in the sum-
mer, seven of the school boys were baptized. It was
good to see them come so young, as they had a great
chance for much usefulness in the future. Our big
boy, Li Guay Guang, was one of them. He had been
with us for two years now.
There are mountain sheep on the hills around, and
one day Dr. Shelton went with a Catholic boy who was
56 SHELTON OF TIBET
a great hunter, to see if they could shoot some. They
climbed and climbed, but could not get near enough
for a shot. The climb down was rather strenuous, and
they were tired. From the summit of the mountain
down to the river were long, smooth places, where
formerly there had been a landslide, but where now the
wood cutters sent their wood down, to save carrying
it, when they cut it on the tops of the mountains. The
Doctor and his companion each tied a few sticks of
wood together, sat down on them, and came down that
slide of two or three thousand feet at a somewhat
swifter pace than if they had walked, with dirt and
stones flying about their ears and hitting them in the
What wouldn't Dorris do next? Down the steep
Chinese stairs she rolled, and we thought she must be
killed, but her father felt the little body in every place,
and no bones were broken, nor were there any bruises
that we could see ; and in a few minutes she was ready
for more worlds to conquer.
Mr. Moyes, who was a missionary of the China
Inland Mission, took ill, and Doctor pronounced it
typhus. Mrs. Rijnhart was now engaged to him, and
they both worked hard to keep him. Finally the crisis
was passed, and he lived. Doctor came home after
the long night, and went to bed very tired after his
long vigil, but he had realized his ideal of the doctor in
"Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush," and Baby and I were
glad to have him back again.
In Tachienlu lived a king, a real Tibetan king. That
is, he had been a king, and still had the name and the
THE TIBETAN KING OF CHALA 57
retinue and the semblance of authority but in reality
none at all. When the Chinese had conquered Ta-
chienlu, he had been deposed by them, but had kept his
palace and was allowed to do about as he liked, though
he had to see that the surrounding Tibetans paid their
taxes when the Chinese asked it, that they furnished
horses and cattle to all Chinese who wished to go to
the interior, and in numerous other ways served his
conquerors. He had several wives, many servants, and
a little girl whom he dressed as a boy because he
wished very much that she were a son. She had a sheep
to ride, and would go very fast upon it when she went
out for a ride. Many years later this little girl was
married in the city of Tachienlu, but just how happy
or how miserable her life has been, we have not heard.
This king had been on a holy pilgrimage to Omei
San, a sacred mountain of the Buddhas, near Kiating,
when Dr. Shelton was on his way to Tachienlu for the
first time. He came for some medicine, and thought he
got much better. A friendship started then between
the two men, and it was never broken. He showed
kindness to us in many ways during the time we lived
in Tachienlu, and even afterwards, when we left the
city. His life was not an enviable one. He was spied
upon, not allowed to go out of the city, forced to do
as the Chinese commanded, and always had to make
the Tibetans yield to every request of the Chinese, well
knowing the hate on both sides.
Every year in Tachienlu worship was conducted on
top of the "Run Horse Mountain." It is a legend of
long ago that the god of this mountain got very angry
58 SHELTON OF TIBET
with the city of Tachienlu, which was located just at
its base, and hurled stones and dirt and torrents of
water upon it until the city was entirely destroyed,
scarcely a piece of wall having been left standing. Of
course it could not be built again in that place, but was
rebuilt a few hundred yards below. So every year,
in order that this god may not be angry again and de-
stroy the city, a pony race takes place on the top of
the mountain at sunrise, to pay homage to the god.
One morning about nine o'clock, we went to the
courtyard of the king's palace to see the ponies that
were to race that year. There were a hundred and
thirty of them, and they came with their riders in single
file past the king as he sat in his place on an upper
balcony, each man dismounting from his steed as he
came into the presence. The king's own were the pret-
tiest and fattest, and his riders stayed on as his ponies
went by. We wanted to see the race, so we took a
small tent, Baby Dorris, and the orphan boys, and went
up the mountain the evening before, so as not to be
too late to see the ponies run, for the race was to take
place as the sun came over the tops of the eastern peaks.
Lovely it was: mountain and sky and stillness. The
little boys sat in the tent door before we slept and
sang "J esus Loves Me." It is a wonder the god was
not shocked to hear such a song as that instead of the
Tibetan prayer. It was enough to make him want to
roll some rocks on us! Prizes were given at the end
of the race, and everybody went back down the moun-
The sequel to the life of this Tibetan king has just
THE TIBETAN KING OF CHALA 59
come. The extract from the North China Herald is
"Tachienlu, Szechuen, June 24, 1922.
"The King of Chala was found drowned in the
Tachienlu River on the morning of June 2nd. It is re-
ported that rinding escape from the city impossible, he
ended his miserable and hopeless existence by drown-
ing himself in the river. There was a plot to effect his
escape, and, had it proved successful, a very serious
border situation would have been the result. That the
scheme failed and failed stupidly and disastrously
was largely due to the age and decrepitude of the poor,
unfortunate king. This final effort to escape was the
last kick of a man who has pined for his seal of office
since Chao Er Feng took it from him in 1911.
"The King of Chala was kept a prisoner by the
Chinese simply because he abused his freedom. The
Commissioner would have released him long ago had
he been sure that the king would have behaved himself.
He was carefully caged up for the same reason that
keepers at the zoo cage tigers and lions. On the night
of May 3 ist, a well-laid scheme was planned to free
the king. This night was especially chosen because it
was the Dragon Festival. People generally would be
enjoying Chinese festivities, and on such a night state
prisoners would not be in the minds of happy, feasting
Chinese officials. A more propitious evening certainly
could not have been chosen : the Dragon Festival, the
many feasts, the pleasant entertainments, the abundance
of wine, the miserable prisoners would be forgotten.
It was now or never.
"The plan of escape was simply this: at a given
hour those inside were to commence digging toward
the outside, and those outside were to begin digging
toward the inside. The prison wall presented no very
serious difficulty. The mistake, however, lay in for-
60 SHELTON OP TIBET
getting that the floor of the prison is several feet higher
than the level of the ground outside. Those digging
on the outside might have gone on digging till they
reached the Tower of London, and found themselves in
rather an awkward position. The King of Chala, find-
ing no one coming to his rescue, gave up his boring;
his friends on the outside, finding the wall much thicker
than they anticipated, gave up in despair. The scheme
failed entirely, and simply through miscalculation. It
is indeed fortunate for Tachienlu and all in Eastern
Tibet that the king did not escape.
"The following evening, June ist, the king and his
servant completed the boring, and finally crawled out
of prison. Finding no horses and friends ready to
hasten his escape, and knowing that Tachienlu was well
guarded night and day, the king, after sending his
servant round the hill, made for the riverside, burrowed
a shallow hole, and there drowned himself. His body
was found there on the morning of June 2nd, with his
breast loaded up with idols, amulets, and Tibetan pray-
ers. Thus died the King of Chala, who lost his seal
in 1911, his palace in 1912, and his life in 1922. Since
his death, the border situation has been quite uncertain,
and the feeling in the city is that trouble may break
out at any moment. Will the King of Chala's death
make Tachienlu more secure, or will it be the cause for
deeper hatred between the Chinese and Tibetans?"
Poor old King ! It was a sad end for a man who had
always hoped that some day he might find his kingdom
in part restored, and escape for a little while from
Chinese bondage. Because of the unsettled condi-
tions in China and the freedom that the greater part of
Tibet had won for herself by expelling all the Chinese
from the country, the Tibetans hoped to govern them-
selves. Their plan was to release from captivity all
THE TIBETAN KING OF CHAL A 61
those rulers who had once been in authority over them,
and who by them are worshiped as holy, place them in
power once more, and be subject to no nation. The
idea of freedom was going to all corners of the earth,
and to these people also it had come.
NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE
THE TRIP TO MEET MR. AND MRS. OGDEN. ILLNESS AND
OTHER INCIDENTS THAT FOLLOWED. DESCRIPTION
OF A LAMASERY
"From the works of a former life and
from heaven's law, there is no escape,
they follow forever."
Word now reached us that new folks were coming
that Mr. and Mrs. Ogden had been appointed by the
Foreign Christian Missionary Society to come to
Tachienlu, that the Doctor must go to Shanghai to
meet them, and that Dorris and I were to go to Chentu
to wait for them. So bag and baggage, chairs and all,
we started over the wild mountain road that leads
along by the roaring Tachienlu River. As we went
along, the Doctor saw a mountain goat across the river
on the mountain side, and shot it, his first big game;
it rolled to the water's edge, and the men went across
after it. They would have fresh meat for supper, and
plenty of it.
The days were about all the same as we wound slowly
around the mountains and through the valleys, getting
gradually lower every day. The only marked difference
was in the inns at which we stopped, which were of
NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE 63
varying degrees of dirtiness, and the pits of filth some-
times not so near. The fields of corn looked very
strange, after not seeing any for so long. As we
reached the plains, the roads grew narrow between
the rice fields, and when it rained, were slippery as lard.
The men dropped the chair twice. It was well it was
not a narrow mountain road, or we might have tumbled
to nowhere. Dorris slept much, and wiggled the rest
of the time. In the green, flat, rice fields the men were
plowing in the mud. Fields and fields of water soaking
the earth for the rice planting looked very strange and
quite a contrast to the mountain fields that were so
steep that nothing could stick to them but a coolie or
a goat. Such a paradise for ducks are these valleys,
with millions and millions of them for the use of the
Chinese table. Dried duck is a great article of diet
among the Chinese. They split the birds open in the
back, salt them, and hang them up to dry. They can
then carry them thousands of miles and have an excel-
lent meal at any time.
Nothing but a water buffalo with no hair, and a
Chinaman, could plow fields under water and knee-
deep in mud. And such threshing machines ! A wooden
sled, with a piece of matting stood up in one end of it
to keep the grain from flying out. The farmer takes
the little shock of rice and beats it on the side of the
sled until all the kernels fly out, saving every one in
the bed of the sled. Then the straw is twisted into small
bundles for winter feed for the animals, and to make
sandals for the people.
As Dr. Shelton's road branched off from ours, he
left us before we reached the city of Chentu, and went
64 SHELTON OF TIBET
on to Shanghai, while we proceeded to the capital of
the province. It was very lonely, only Baby and I,
without him, in this strange land where there were so
many millions of people, but we hoped he would go
safely and bring the new friends back all well and
In the capital city we saw the people weaving beau-
tiful silks in all colors green and blue, cream and
white, but in such filthy houses. It is a wonder we
do not all catch some disease when we wear this silk.
The world is such a lonesome place without the people
near you that you love best. We just waited and
counted the days until we should hear that the new
folks had come. They surprised us and came back,
to our astonishment, much sooner than we expected
them; and we were glad they had returned safe and
sound from the old river.
Packing and going home were the next things to
do ; so through the valleys and over the two big moun-
tains again we all went. There were cold and snow,
dirty inns, and rooms with paper windows, through
which the Chinese poked their fingers and peeked, so
that we had to undress in the dark. The new friends
didn't sleep much, as they were not yet used to the bark-
ing of the dogs and the noises of an inn. But we were
home again at last, with a heating stove and a cook
stove, and we felt very grand indeed.
But a louse had gotten on my arm and chewed it to
the shoulder, and in two weeks after getting home, a
hard chill came on followed by typhus fever. Husband
and Baby were forgotten, and the tiny tot ran wild,
while the Doctor sat day and night by the bed for many
NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE 65
days and nights, finally, when the crisis came, putting
a few drops of water at a time on my tongue through
one night, thinking each time was the last. Through
his care and devotion, life came back again, though
just what for I do not quite see yet. After my re-
covery, work began again, for through these days of
illness all things stopped.
When I was well again, the Doctor went out with
the schoolboys to hunt and to bathe in the hot springs,
to study among the people, and to see if there was a
place to open a new station. We always missed him,
Baby and I, but he always came back to us out of the
fresh air with ducks or pigeons or pheasants he had
shot, feeling that he had made great strides in the
language, and gotten nearer the boys as they lay and
talked at night around the camp fire, and nearer to the
people in the country as he went to them with medicine.
They were afraid to come to the crowded town, and
afraid of the Chinese people in the streets, who con-
sider the Tibetans something like dogs, since they are
the ruling class.
Then Dorris had to be vaccinated again. I was hold-
ing her, and when the Doctor scratched her leg it hurt.
She thought I had done the hurting, and looked most
reprovingly at me, while loving the Doctor with her
arms about his neck. This delighted him exceedingly.
Typhus seemed to be rampant in the city during these
two years ; first Mr. Moyes took it, then I, then Johnny,
Doctor's medical assistant, and last, Mr. Sorensen, a
member of the China Inland Mission. The Doctor and
Mi*. Ogden stayed with him and nursed him, one stay-
ing from noon to midnight, and the other from mid-
66 SHELTON OF TIBET
night till noon. While he lay unconscious, his baby
boy took the smallpox, and his mother cared for him.
It seemed marvelous that we all lived. God's hand was
surely in what the Doctor did, and his life was wonder-
fully guarded. I hoped he would never be ill, as there
was no physician within a seven days' journey.
Mr. and Mrs. Ogden were both busy with the lan-
guage study. Mrs. Ogden was soon ready to talk and
work with the women, and the work began to grow.
Mr. Ogden was ready in a few months to preach his
first sermon in Tibetan. Until then, Dr. Shelton had
had to preach, take care of the day school and the
medical work in the city, and itinerate whenever he
could. The days were filled full, and we were glad
when night came and we could rest. Our old Tibetan
teacher had been coming for two years, and said he
would like to put his name down and learn the doctrine
but that he was bookkeeper at the monastery and was
afraid of the lamas, who he said would be greatly dis-
pleased with him should he accept the foreign religion.
Reading and studying the Bible in Tibetan with the
Doctor, he would get very angry with the people who
treated Christ so cruelly, and would say, "What do they
mean, why should they kill him? He has done rioth-
I have many memory pictures of those days. Dorris
takes another tumble down the stairs. She falls on her
chin this time, making it black and blue. Now she is
on the couch with her father, looking at some photo-
graphs, and they are chatting away like two children.
She says, "Now then, play horse." Then, "Papa, go
to sleep. Now then, Papa, wake up," and the big man
NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE 67
enjoys it, this bossing by the baby girl. She orders him
to play bear sometimes, and growl like the baby bear
she saw; then he must be a horse, down on all fours
while she rides ; next with a tsamba bowl she is a whin-
ing beggar, and her father is putting cash in the bowl.
Opium was plentiful in China then, and could be
gotten very cheaply. Everybody used it; it was the
universal panacea for all pain; the smoke blown in
a baby's face could quiet a severe case of colic, and
there was nothing else to be had.
The Doctor had patients of many sorts. Suicides
were common. A second wife swallowed a lot of
opium with wine, and they came for the Doctor too
late. A baby whose mother gave too much milk for
him vomited, and the mother wanted it stopped. The
baby wasn't ill, it was only Nature's way of getting rid
of the over-supply. The older sister said, "I'll stop it,'*
and went to a Chinese doctor for a draft of scorpions,
which she got and gave to the baby, who soon died.
The Chinese teacher had a small bag of musk tied
to his gown, and when we asked him what it was for,
he said, "Oh, so I won't smell the dirty streets." To
clean the streets would be almost impossible. They
are narrow and covered with rough cobble stones,
plastered over with the filth of ages. When it rained,
they were sticky, the water and the smear making some-
thing akin to plaster, and the sun making it warm raised
a stench that cannot be described, but must be experi-
enced to be appreciated. A toilet was an unheard of
convenience; filth of all kinds abounded; pigs, yak,
chickens, and children wandered at their own sweet will
68 SHELTON OF TIBET
anywhere and everywhere, using the streets for their
A woman who died was one of the first who had
been baptized, and was the first to have Christian burial
services. She said she did not want either lamas or
Chinese priests. We attended the little service, and
wore white, the Chinese mourning color, upon our
heads in her honor.
A Catholic father had died of typhus during the
winter. Many of the natives went to see his face as
he lay asleep, and as they looked at it, they said, "If
to be a Christian means to look like that when you
die, I want to be a Christian." This French father had
served thirty years, and had never been away from
Tachienlu very many days' journey.
When Dorris was three, the schoolboys bought
firecrackers and shot them off, and her cake had three
There was a big lamasery at Tachienlu where the
people held their yearly festivities, milking the cow to
see whether the barley crop would be good or not,
baptizing the god's image in a mirror, as well as some
rather comic buffoonery that was amusing to the crowd.
Many of the lamas came for medicine, and one who
had broken off a needle in his hand, and whom the
Doctor had relieved, was always a friend of the mis-
sion, as nearly as they dared to be friends.
Once every month the devils were coaxed out of the
lamasery by quite an elaborate ceremony. The priests
blew long trumpets and rang bells, chanted prayers,
and persuaded the devils all to collect in a great piece of
tsamba (parched barley flour), molded in the shape
NEW RECRUITS ARRIVE 69
of a man, a chorten, or some animal. Then this was
taken out and set down, straw was piled around it, and
it was shot at with a gun or with arrows, eggs were
thrown toward it, and lastly the straw was set on fire.
But beggars always followed the procession, and when
the lamas had about finished, they rushed through the
fire and captured the tsamba and any egg that survived.
It did not seem to matter to them how many devils they
ate. This custom of taking the devils out every month
was followed by most of the big Tibetan inns, or
gogewans. Though they were coaxed out once a month,
there was always a "batch" of new ones that got in
somehow, and gave the lamas plenty of work.
Wonderful stories we heard about the priests in the
lamaseries. There were tales of those who were killed
in the dead of night because they had displeased the
high priests, and thrown into the river in order to
leave no trace. Some were killed by beating, some by
strangling, and the treasurer stabbed himself because
his money account was not what was expected of him.
There is not much to be seen in the faces of these
men who are lamas. The children are much to be
pitied, for they are taken at six or seven years of age
one from each family is the rule and placed in the
lamasery, with no care or love from the big coarse
men residing there. They are taught to chant prayers
from memory, or to read Tibetan meaninglessly, taught
superstition to the highest degree, and given charms
to keep away disease and evil. It is not much wonder
their lives are foul, for pure thought has no soil in
which to be born. A lama's power is limitless over
the people, who come on every occasion asking how
70 SHELTON OF TIBET
they shall do things, and when and how, worshiping
through fear, as they dread a curse from a lama, be-
lieving that he can bring to pass all he says. Even
though they should go to hell, if they pay the priest
enough cash, he will be enabled to get them out.
ON INTO TIBET
DR. SHELTON AND MR. OGDEN SEEK A SUITABLE STA-
TION FARTHER INLAND. VISITORS IN TACHIENLU,
REMOVAL TO BATANG
"1 took a horse clear to Lassa without
making his back sore; while the cow
downstairs lost the skin off her tail"
Letters from the Board at home made it almost
necessary for the Doctor and Mr. Ogden to go to
the interior and see if a station could be established
farther inland among the Tibetans.
The situation at Tachienlu was very difficult. The
Chinese were the rulers, and monopolized the services,,
and the Tibetans refused to come and mix with therm
at all, for several reasons. One was the position in
which they were held by the Chinese, and the other,
their hatred of them. Mrs. Ogden and I would be
alone, and it was hard to see our husbands go. The
days were busy ones, as the men were to start Septem-
ber 3, 1906. Boxes of food must be fixed, changes
of clothing gotten ready, bedding and medicines pre-
pared. The ula (pack animals), with Tibetan escort,
were slow in coming, and on the day of departure they
did not get started until about two o'clock. Dorris
72 SHELTON OF TIBET
clung to her father and cried and cried when he had
to go ; and the next morning she hunted for him every-
Now we were alone, and worked just as hard as we
could to keep from missing our husbands and feeling
how lonely we were. We felt as if they had been
gone months instead of a day. Always when the Doc-
tor was away, and the first day was ended, I felt
like saying, "It is the morning and evening of the first
day"; and the next day, "It is the morning and eve-
ning of the second day"; and so on until his return.
Ten days later the first letter got back to us ; they were
doing nicely, and we were glad. We expected a tele-
gram from Li Tang, as the line had been extended
that far, but it didn't come. We sent over to see
what was the matter, and the lines were cut. It is a
hard matter to keep them repaired; the Tibetans cut
them because the Chinese put them in, and also be-
cause they have a superstitious fear of them. A tele-
gram later said, "Friday, late, hungry." That meant
they would be home on Friday, would probably make
a two days' journey in one, and that all their food had
given out on the way. But they hurried, and got in
on Thursday, October nth, instead of Friday. The
Doctor had used one towel and two handkerchiefs on
the whole trip, and never changed his pillow-case at
all! It is no wonder he had to be "boiled" and every-
thing with him, when he got back from one of his
They were gone thirty-nine days, and surveyed the
country all through, looking for a place to put the new
station. They decided upon Batang as the best place
ON INTO TIBET 73
and the best valley they had seen in all their journeys,
and looking over the land these two felt so powerless
and so weak in that great expanse of country that, as
they talked, they went on their knees under the big tree
where they sat, and gave to that land their talents and
their lives ; and God took them and used them. Upon
their report depended whether the mission was to go
to Batang or remain in Tachienlu.
About this time, the report came out that the Chi-
nese soldiers had rebelled and killed their major at
Litang, and captured all the guns and ammunition.
The Tibetans joined them, and they held the country
now from Hokoe to Litang.
It is not much to be wondered at that Chinese sol-
diers rebel, when one knows how they must live in the
interior. Their pay is very little. The officials keep
most of their money, and let them live upon the coun-
try as best they can. Many are stationed on high
mountain passes, which are cold and barren. The
soldiers have little to eat, very few clothes, and abso-
lutely nothing to do but carry a few messages and
watch the telegraph lines to keep them from being cut.
The rumor was that the king at Tachienlu had moved
all his treasurers to Nim Ya; he must have thought
that something was in the wind, or else was afraid
there was. The big monastery at Litang, which con-
tained about three thousand lamas, was helping the
Chinese rebels. It meant safety for them and their
gods, for here they printed one of the Tibetan Bibles
in the lamasery, and much of the wealth of the coun-
try, consisting of butter, tsamba, gold, and silver, was
stored in these great houses. Should they refuse to
74 SHELTON OF TIBET
aid the Chinese, they would loot and burn the lamasery,
so it was to fheir advantage to feed the Chinese, to-
buy their red coats and their guns and ammunition,
giving them enough money to get out home and leave
them in peace once more. So, a few at a time, the
soldiers straggled out through Tachienlu, with no uni-
forms and no guns; always saying, if captured
and questioned, that they "had been robbed by the
At this time Mrs. Ogden went into the valley and a
little girl was born, who only opened her eyes to close
them again forever. Mr. Ogden kept the tiny coffin
a few days, as he feared the mother would sleep beside
her baby, but she grew better, and the little one was
placed on the mountain side in the C. I. M. compound,
but the father and mother could not be comforted.
Very, very slowly the natives came for help in cases
of childbirth, for they were very much afraid of a
foreign doctor. In one case the woman died with a
child unborn, but it was taken from her, for she would
be cursed forever if she should be left in that way. So
many times the people would wait from three to five
days when the mother was near death from exhaus-
tion. Sometimes the Doctor could save both mother
and child, sometimes only one, and sometimes neither.
On May 27, 1907, a new baby girl decided to open
her eyes in this strange land. Dorothy Madelon came,
with Mrs. Ogden for her nurse and her father for
her physician. She was such a tiny thing, but hardly
any trouble at all, for she would lie and coo and smile,
just like the babies one reads about. Next to being
sick in China, is being alone with no one else of kin
ON INTO TIBET 75
near you. If I could only just have taken my babies
in my arms and run home for a few minutes to let
my father see them! But I should want to run back
again, of course.
Dorris's nose was stopped up one morning, and she
said her papa had squeezed her so tight, he squeezed
her nose all shut. One night I started to say her
prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep," and she said in
a very tired way, "Oh, pshaw, you say that too many
times," and it never got said that night. But she
always liked to say, "God bless papa, mamma, and
baby. Amen," perhaps because she knew that was
Mr. Amundsen was one who came through Ta-
chienlu carrying Tibetan tracts and Bibles to sell in the
interior. He had been on the Indian border for some
years, and one of the so-called twelve apostles who
went out with Annie Taylor.
A German, also, Herr Tafel, came through, making
the city his headquarters, going into the surrounding
mountains and valleys, making maps of the country
and taking the altitude, etc., for governmental pur-
poses. He said he had had ten battles with the Tibet-
ans, but come off safely each time. On returning to
Germany he took with him the son of our old teacher,
to help him on the translation of the Tibetan books
he had collected. His son had been bought by the
teacher, "milk money" being paid to his family, con-
sisting of an old gun, some butter, a sheep, and a few
rupees, as he wanted him for a husband for his daugh-
ter. They lived next to our house, and often we could
hear him beating the wife with a strap, and hear
76 SHELTON Of TIBET
through the wall the smack as it hit her shoulders. He
went to Germany and married a German girl, and did
not send any more money back to his wife, so the
old teacher was very angry, and came to have the
Doctor send him a letter telling him that he was going
to pray to his gods every day to kill him, but the Doc-
tor refused to write that kind of a letter. We have
not heard of him since the big war, so do not know
whether he is alive or not.
Another guest was the American Consul Mitchell,
who came to Tachienlu to hunt the "wild cow" or
budorcas, whose habitat is the mountains around
Tachienlu. Dr. Shelton went with him, but stayed
only one day. He came over that wild mountain road
at night, where one misstep would have pitched both
him and his mule into the roaring river, but the sure-
footed animal carried him safely through the dark-
ness. He reached home as quickly as possible, for Mr.
Ogden had been taken ill.
The consul found his "wild cow," and when he went
back home, the king gave him many gifts, including
a pair of the big black and yellow Tibetan dogs. These
are magnificent brutes. A good while afterwards,
when they were grown, Mr. Mitchell said they never
seemed to show any affection whatever, and neither
do they in Tibet, but are fierce, and are kept as watch
dogs, tied to guard. One of these dogs died in the
heat of the plains. The other one lived longer, and in
a most dignified way would walk up to the table for
a piece of bread, and stand with his nose on the level
of the table. But later the consul feared madness, and
ON INTO TIBET 77
There was so much misery in this land from opium
smoking. There had to be an outlet for the quantities
of opium raised in Burma and in India, so a great
deal of it was shipped to the English port of Hong-
kong, and the international port of Shanghai. Travel-
ing through China along the paths through the opium
fields, the blossoms are very beautiful. Great fields
of white and pink and red make the landscape one
blaze of color. Such a great curse is opium, and yet
a necessary panacea for pain. China was awake to
her danger and the havoc the use of opium made among
her best men. Some could use it moderately for years,
and others went very quickly from wealth to beggar-
dom. So a treaty was made, stipulating that if China
would quit raising opium in ten years, part of the fields
to be put out of cultivation each year, no more would
be shipped in, and China went to work in dead earnest.
Great bonfires were made of opium pipes and opium;
men were arrested in dens, and imprisoned ; inspectors
went all over the land, ordering the plants rooted up,
and beheading men in the fields when they offended
the second time. Opium became more and more diffi-
cult to get, and higher and higher in price, until it was
beyond the reach of the poor, and the young could
not form the habit.
At the close of ten years, China said: "We have
done our part. You have forced us to pay high prices
for all you shipped to us. Now we will raise it every-
where, and make it cheap and easy to get, and not pay
the exorbitant prices you have been asking us," and
it was done. Opium has another start from Batang
to the sea, and everybody smokes today, even the poor-
78 SHELTON OF TIBET
est, and the habit is more universal than it has ever
been. Also great amounts are shipped in from Japan,
in the shape of morphine tablets, which are used hypo-
About this time, the Da Kagi and the Ir Kagi passed
through Tachienlu from Nepal, bearing tribute to the
emperor of China. The story goes (and most of it
is true) that long ago China conquered Nepal, and
every twelve years this long caravan of perhaps two
hundred men and many horses must travel from that
little country across Tibet and through China to Pekin,
carrying ivory, sugar, raisins, coral, silks, and all man-
ner of wealth from India, to lay at the feet of the Most
High. It would have been easier and saved much time
to go around by sea, but that would not do. Time is
of no value, and besides, the people must see this sub-
ject nation under the emperor's commands, bringing
to him the best they have.
Now school and dispensary and itinerating trips into
the country take the Doctor away most of the time.
School takes all the morning, and dispensary and calls
all the afternoon, so we see little of him until evening ;
but there are no entertainments nor picture shows, so
we have our home life together then. He began to
teach Dorris the Bible lessons and to have evening
worship that she could understand. He told her the
story of Adam and Eve, and that they had no clothes,
and she asked, "Who stole them and ran away?" For
if they had been in China and had no clothes, they
would have been stolen. When the story of Cain and
Abel came she said, "I want to cry about that, but who
spanked him for killing his brother ?" She knew what
ON INTO TIBET 79
happened to her when she did naughty things. She
wanted to know if Jesus wouldn't fall down if his
house was in the sky and what the angels had to play
Doctor Shelton and Mr. Ogden received a letter
from the Mission Board at home, asking us to come
down into China to the coast stations, as they couldn't
get men to come as far as Tachienlu, and it was so
difficult to get money and supplies; but the two men
held a mission meeting and sent the request that we
be allowed to go on to Batang, saying, "We will go
in, but not out; forward, but not back." They also
wrote asking for another doctor, and some three
months later the answer came that one was coming.
I suppose the Lord is looking out for His people
in this dark land, and the men and the money will
come when they are needed. So the years come and
go. Not much that you would call a big thing was
accomplished in everyday work, but daily love and
patience and sympathy, more felt than spoken, were
slowly working, and the people felt the need of us,
and missed us when we were gone. It was not so
much the religion we represented, for China is full
of religions: it was the mercy and helpfulness and
love that belonged to ours and that did not go with
Such a wonderful land is China! Great and vast,
with a marvelous people; a civilization so old that it
seems perfect to them, and a change in any way is
difficult to understand. So many beautiful things they
say in their classics and believe in theory, and if they
would live up to them their lives would be close to the
80 SHELTON OF TIBET
ideal; but in practice so many of their lives are vile,
At last permission came from the Board for us to
go to Batang. That meant some preparation. The
two men went to Chungking to purchase a two years'
supply of soap, sugar, and candles, and the necessary
saws and tools for the cutting of timber and building
of houses, for they would liave to become "hewers of
wood and drawers of water," brickmakers, lumber cut-
ters, tile makers, furniture builders, teaching the Chi-
nese carpenters how to build even a wash-tub before
a good bath could be taken. Boxes holding from
seventy-five to eighty pounds must be made, in which
to pack the household goods, medicine, instruments,
books, bedding, pictures, and dishes. The boxes were
covered with a wet skin which soon dries, and becomes
very hard, keeping all dampness from the contents.
This covering, being very strong, prevents the boxes
from bursting to pieces if a yak gets on a stampede.
The Doctor, the two babies, and I left Tachienlu
July 7, 1908, and reached Batang July 24th. Mr. and
Mrs. Ogden prepared to go with us, but decided to
wait for the new physician, Dr. Loftis, who was com-
ing. Their plans were changed, however, and they
arrived in Batang October 3ist. The city was Oriental
in everything that goes with that word. Dirt, heat,
flies, mangy dogs, naked babies, half-clothed men and
women, no rain for months, the chaff from the wheat-
threshing flying everywhere. The first great event
that happened at Batang was the birth of little Ruth
Ogden, the first foreign baby born in that city. There
are three babies now, Dorris, Dorothy, and Ruth. They
BUILDING THE MISSIONARY HOUSES AT BATANG.
THE WORKMEN ARE CARRYING UP AND POUR-
ING INTO THE MOULDS THE MUD OF WHICH
THE WALLS ARE BUILT
TIEETAN HOUSES OF YELLOW MUD, BUILT VERY
MUCH LIKE MEXICAN ADOBE HOUSES
MISSION COMPOUND AT BATANG. THE HOSPITAL
IS AT THE LEFT, WITH THE SCHOOL IN THE
CENTER, BEHIND WHICH IS DR. SHELTON'S
HOUSE AND MR. OGEN's AT THE RIGHT
OUR HOME AT BATANG
ON INTO TIBET 81
don't at all mind 'the dirt or the heat, but are always
happy, and keep us from being lonesome.
The houses in Batang are nearly all of two stories,
and a third story a kind of shed over about half the
roof. The four walls are built of the yellow mud,
very much like the Mexican adobe houses. Glad, in-
deed, were we all when a mud palace for each family
was procured, and it could be scraped clean of manure,
whitewashed, cleaned, and scrubbed, and we could
put glass in the windows and screen them. There was
a diminishing of dirt and smells, and we could sit under
our own walnut trees and have a clean place for the
babies to play.
The school and Sunday school and medical work
were opened at once. We worked away for two years,
quite happy with the people, making friends wherever
we could, and then our Dr. Loftis left us. Perhaps
by his death he brought the mission work fifty years
nearer completion in that raw land than otherwise
it would have been.
Our furlough time was due, and after two years
and four months in Batang we must say good-by to
the little station, the Tibetan friends, the boys and the
teacher, and leave for America. It is strange how
sometimes a greater love than you know grasps you
and holds you, and you love more abundantly ; and w^
loved them even more than they loved us, though I
think they felt such love as little children feel.
It isn't easy to live in that land, but you feel that
you want to return, and the Master seems nearer over
there. As we were preparing to return, news came
that Chma had decided to be a republic, and all the
82 SHELTON OF TIBET
missionaries were leaving the stations in China. Those
at Tachienlu fled to Batang, and the little party, con-
sisting of Mr. and Mrs. Ogden, Ruth, Dr. Hardy, Mr.
and Mrs. Edgar and their children, started on the un-
known road out through Yunnan. Whippings, execu-
tions, and punishments of all kinds were happening
every day in the city. Little Ruth was carried on a
faithful Tibetan's back in a basket. At Dalifu they
received messages urging them to hurry. At last they
reached Yunnanfu, and took the railway for Hong
Kong, thence by steamer to Shanghai, and then home,
exhausted and worn; and fifteen days later Walter
Harold was born in the hospital at Los Angeles.
FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN
THE UNITED STATES AGAIN AFTER SEVEN YEARS. IN-
CIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY BACK TO BATANG
"Talk is like bubbles, work is like gold
nuggets" TIBETAN PROVERB.
It seemed strange to be home once more, home in
America after more than seven years in that foreign
land. The swiftness of the people, and the rate at
which everything moved, the roar of the cars and
trains, and the impatience of a man who had to wait
two minutes for his street car were a revelation of a
new order of things. We were not used to moving
faster than a man could walk, and we had traveled
through country where absolute stillness reigned, unless
it was the roar of a river or the slide of an avalanche.
Waiting one and two hours for things to get done, or
to get started for some place had been our daily por-
tion. To see a newspaper the same day it was printed
was another strange experience, as most of those we
had seen on the field were three months old before they
reached us. To buy stockings and shoes and a dress
that did not have to be selected from a catalogue by
guesswork was a luxury. Sometimes when in China
we ordered goods from the English firms in Shanghai
84 SHELTON OF TIBET
and said "calico," we got muslin, and an order for
chewing gum brought a bottle of mucilage !
The styles in America were wonderful. Hair was
dressed high and piled upon something, and most of
the something had come from China's lepers, dead
beggars, and criminals. When we went back to China,
we saw great quantities of this hair piled on the ground
in a dirty pen, and when we asked what was to be
done with it, the reply was, "Send it to America ; they
use lots of it over there." When we made a dress in
Tibet, we made it in the most convenient way, and
wore it until it was worn out, then made it over for the
children or the orphans.
There did not seem to be a quiet place anywhere in
America. Everybody was rushing somewhere, and
then rushing back again, for no particular reason that
could be discerned. Moving picture shows had come
in since we had gone away, and everybody went to see
them. Home seemed a place to sleep, and to eat some-
times, but -nothing more. To stay in one for any
length of time seemed impossible. Everywhere homes
were being mortgaged, and many of them lost, for an
automobile. Where was everyone going? What did
they want, and if they got it, were they happy? We
Dr. Shelton was away most of the time, traveling
and speaking all over the United States, and the quiet
times together that we had had in Tibet could never
be found here. In a little book which he carried in his
pocket during some of the trips, I found this prayer :
"Oh, God, keep me close to Thee this year." I wonder
if he, too, found it much more difficult to live near the
FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN 85
Master in this land than on the other side of the
Our furlough time was just about over, and our
boxes were packed and sent to be shipped. So many
friends had been kind. We had sheets and bedding
and gifts for the orphans; towels, playthings, and
books, which they had given us to take with us. Then
the news came that China had turned into a republic
almost overnight, and our return must be postponed.
Sun Yat Sen, the dreamer, had at last seen his ideal
realized; but the coming of democracy meant revolu-
tion, and that meant war. For many years he had
planned and worked to make China a republic, but
being a dreamer, he knew he would not make a good
executive, so Yuan Shih Kai, a man of remarkable
ability, was chosen to control the new Republic.
But how about the others, our fellow-workers, out
there in that far corner of the world? Two months
passed, and we got a telegram from Mr. Ogden, say-
ing they were safe in Hong Kong, and Dr. Hardy
with them. Through difficult roads they had come,
but were safe at last. The Ogdens were coming home
to America, but Dr. Hardy was staying in East China,
to help with the Red Cross work during the war.
We had to wait almost a year before we could start
back. By that time the first President was established
in power, and travel through the country was safe. It
seemed very strange when we landed in China to see no
queues. The "pig tail" had originally been a badge of
servitude, put on the Chinese by their Manchu con-
querors, but its original purpose had been forgotten,
and it had grown to be a very necessary part of the
86 SHELTON OF TIBET
Chinese equipment. To pull a man's queue was a dire
insult, and to be without one on entering the next life
would have been shame unpardonable. But it seemed
to us that under the new regime the Chinese coolies
and laboring people, in trying to express their freedom,
succeeded only in being impudent, and we much pre-
ferred the old-time courtesy that all the Chinese people
Again we must go up that old river, and though we
realized its dangers more this time than before, it
never lost its charm and attractiveness. We went on
a small steamer to Chungking very quickly leaving
only about one month for the house-boat journey. As
we waited in the port of Ichang, a steamer go-down
(warehouse) caught fire, and we greatly feared that
the house in which we were staying with all our goo.ds
would be burned, so we carried out our trunks and
sat on them to keep them from being stolen. That is,
the babies and I sat on them, while the men fought the
iire. The queer, long lines of the Chinese making a
bucket brigade from the river to the house, as they
passed the water from hand to hand to put out the
iire, were very interesting to see. One of Dr. and Mrs.
Hardy's precious trunks was burned in the go-down.
We were cold and frightened, but safe, and the in-
valuable flannel underwear for ourselves and the
babies, which could not be bought for love nor money
in the interior, was still with us.
Another long wait in Chungking for the freight was
necessary, as the Doctor was taking back materials
for the hospital and two dwelling houses, and the cargo
boats were very slow. They finally came, and we
FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN 87
started for the west once more. We had a happy time
together on the house boat. We had a bird dog, Jack,
who kept things lively, and we threw him into the river
every day to give him a bath. The Doctor had his
camera to photograph the beautiful bits of scenery
along the way, and with his shotgun he occasionally
killed some wild ducks for us to eat. He treated all
the sick who came.
The end of the water journey was finally reached,
and now we must go over land again for twelve days
to the border city of Tachienlu. It was like going
back home. In every place all along the way we met
people who knew us, and their welcome back was a
joyous thing to hear. It was not like coming the
first time, when all were strangers. Here, for the first
time, the four families, Mr. and Mrs. Baker, Dr. and
Mrs. Hardy, the Ogdens, and ourselves, were to meet
and go together to establish the new station at distant
Batang. It seemed a great many people to be going
to a station, when before there had been only two
families. Eight grown folks and five babies! It was.
decided that one family at a time should go over the
road, because of the number of men and the size of
the caravan, and the smallness of the rest houses. So
we were the ones to start first. We went by the north-
ern route, which was a much longer way than the route
by Litang, but we were not allowed to go by the direct
and shorter road because of the unsettled condition of
the country. The freight caravan, containing the cor-
rugated iron for the roofs of the buildings, the door
knobs, hinges, nails, glass, paint, many tools, and the
heavy household materials, were sent the shorter way>
88 SHELTON OF TIBET
The only thing lost was my new cookstove, which rob-
bers captured. I presume they thought it was ammuni-
tion, and strewed it over the mountains. All that
reached Batang were the lids, legs, and lifter.
With the babies and food for thirty days, bedding,
cots, and the more precious baggage, we started. In
Dorothy's chair went "Annie," a big black hen, which,
decorated with red ribbons, had been given to her on
her sixth birthday, and had decided to set just before
we started. Her father asked her what she was going
to do with "Annie." "Why," she answered, "I am
going to take her." "But you can't do that ; she is set-
ting on eggs, and the eggs will spoil." But that made
no difference to Dorothy. So "Annie," eggs and all,
was slipped into the chair the morning we started. She
didn't seem to mind, and traveled easily with the rest
of us, sitting in the corners of the rest rooms at night,
keeping the eggs warm.
Some of the places on the road were as lonely as could
be, but we never got away from the grandeur of the
scenery. On the tops of the passes we would find a
marvelous lake, clear and still, where in safety hid the
duck with the golden breast, sacred to the Tibetans.
Once when the Doctor was going to shoot one, they
pleaded with him not to do it, as they said it was the
reincarnation of some of their holy men. This was
because of the yellow breast the golden yellow being
the color of the sacred gowns of the priests.
Sometimes we found flowers, magnificently beauti-
ful, of all colors, and of many varieties. The edelweiss
grew everywhere. This, when dried, the Tibetans use
in their little leather boxes of flint and steel for start-
FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN 89
ing a fire, in lieu of paper, which is very scarce in
Tibet. On the passes we found snow and cold and
lonesomeness everywhere, but withal, grandeur inde-
As we came along the road and met caravans coming
out of Tibet, we asked for reports of affairs. Did we
have anything left in our homes, or in the dispensary?
Were the boys alive? What could they tell us? But
we could get nothing definite, and could only go on
and find out the truth when we arrived. We had heard
this prophecy that China would become a republic,
and that Batang was to be noted for the great men
she would furnish for the ruling of China. There
were to be governors and presidents born there.
On the top of Jedo Pass we camped, and saw skele-
tons of yak and horses. We were told that men
had fallen over the Pass, and had been frozen to death,
and their skeletons were below. There was nothing
for fires but small green trees, which grew to about a
foot in height. Snow fell which looked like tapioca.
The girls found fairy graves and dolly graves. The
big mountain in the distance covered with snow, Dor-
ris called the "Snow Princess," sleeping, to be wakened
by the kisses of the sun in the morning.
One night we came to a queer old Tibetan house of
mud and logs where "Annie's" eggs began to hatch.
We saw gold mining along the streams, and entered a
great forest, which was quite a relief from the four
days' travel over treeless windswept mountains.
At one village we saw a French Catholic priest who
had been caught by the Tibetans and tied up for eight-
een days at the gate of the monastery. As the lamas
90 SHELTON OF TIBET
had passed by him, in and out of the gate, they had
pulled out one hair at a time from- his head and face
as a punishment and a simple form of torture.
The distances were very deceptive. We chased a
village around a mountain all the afternoon, before we
were able to catch it and stop for rest. We came to
another village where every door was shut and barred.
The villagers were afraid of the soldiers, but we finally
found one man who let us in for the night. We stayed
one night in a lamasery, filled with beautiful Tibetan
books. We saw a man with the end of his nose cut off.
If it had been a woman, we would not have been sur-
prised, as that is the Tibetan punishment for adultery,
a custom perhaps taken over from India.
The next day we traveled over the worst roads that
could be imagined, and as there were no houses, we
stopped in the black tents of the nomads for the night.
There is a queer little fireplace in the middle of the
tent with a hole in the top to let out the smoke, and
the sides banked with dirt. With sheep-skins for beds
it was cosy and warm.
By this time "Annie" and her family were doing
finely. She had eight chickens, and they had meals
whenever we stopped. When they got out of the chair
to scratch for a little fresh food, it took the united
forces of the family and the caravan to get them back
One evening we came to a big lamasery, where there
seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of lamas. The
Doctor usually rode in front of the chairs, but this time
he had stopped behind them in order to shoot marmots,
and I was truly frightened, for hundreds of lamas
FIRST FURLOUGH AND RETURN 91
came around the doors and gateways, staring at the
queer white people.
The next day we spent thirteen and one half hours
in the chair, a long, hard day, down, down, down into
a village to remain for the night. Just a few days
now until we should reach home. Every place was hot,
dry, and dusty, with the locusts singing all the while,
until one's ears seemed to split with the noise. There
had been no rain for over a year on this part of the
road. The crops on the mountain sides were drying
up, and the cattle were so thin and weak they could
hardly stand. Everywhere people came for medicine,
saying how glad they were to see the Doctor back
Toward the last, we stopped one night in a small
lamasery which had paintings on the walls, some good
and some obscene. We were now almost at the end
of the journey, after almost a year's travel. The boys
and friends met us two or three miles out, among them
Li Guay Guang, who had grown to be a man since we
took him long ago, in Tachienlu. With tears running
down his cheeks he told us that his wife, Candro, was
dead, because, he said, the Doctor was away, and there
was no one to care for her. Poor little child wife,
she left one wee baby.
We were home once more, but there was dust and
dirt everywhere. There had been fighting around the
city, and thieves had entered the house and taken every-
thing but the books and pictures. All the rugs, dishes,
bedding, silverware, tablecloths, towels, and clothing
had been stolen. The dispensary had been robbed of
the microscope, a good many instruments, and all the
92 SHELTON OF TIBET
bottles of medicine the thieves wanted, and our work
was to begin all over again with this difference, that
now we were wanted and not feared.
One evening as "Annie" and her family were hav-
ing supper along with us, a big cat grabbed two of
the chickens. As the rest of us cried out, the Doctor
got his gun, and soon there was no more cat. "Annie"
arrived safely at Batang with six chickens, and, well
knowing her aristocratic ancestry, was always the boss
of the henyard, and lorded it over the small Tibetan
chickens in a great way. Her descendants populate the
Batang valley and beyond.
There were only very small potatoes in the Batang
valley when we came. Larger ones were brought in
over the mountains from China, and now the valley is
full of potatoes big ones. There were wild straw-
berries, but no cultivated ones. Mr. Ogden and Mr.
Baker brought in nine plants, and now we have plenty
for all. The English walnuts are native, and we find
in the mountains wild gooseberries, red raspberries,
and wild rhubarb. Apricots, grapes, and peaches are
there also, but no apples. It is rather a mystery how
the peaches and apricots got started, and we wondered
if the seeds had not been scattered through the valleys
by the early Jesuit fathers, who had traveled over this
road on missionary journeys seventy-five or a hun-
dred years ago.
. SHANGCHEN AND DERGE
TROUBLE BETWEEN CHINESE AND TIBETANS IN SHANG-
CHEN. THE DOCTOR'S TRIP TO DERGE. VARIOUS
"The hard place to climb is at the top
of the ladder; a poor place to sit down
at its foot" TIBETAN PROVERB.
The four families reached Batang in due time, and
the work was divided among them all, Dr. Shelton's
share being to build the hospital and two dwelling
houses, to itinerate, and. to look after the dispensary.
Early in the year 1915, he went to Atuntze on a trip,
about nine days from Batang, returning in about three
weeks. He had to go to see about money for the mis-
sion, but between times he also doctored and preached
as he went, although he always said he was no preacher.
He brought back some sour oranges, some Chinese
pears, and some rice all very acceptable, as fruit was
not plentiful in the valley, and the altitude was too
high for rice to grow.
While he was away, we awakened one night, and
looking out of the window, saw that the sky was one
brilliant glare of light from a fire. It was the Catho-
lic headquarters. It had been the old palace of the
Iryinguan, or the second in command in the city of
94 SHELTON OF TIBET
Batang, and when he had been deposed by the Chinese,
the old palace had been handed over to the Catholics
as part of indemnity money claimed by the French
fathers for the death of several of their priests during
different rebellions by the Tibetans. It was the most
quiet fire I have ever witnessed. The city seemed to
be absolutely still. Dr. Hardy and Mr. Ogden went
over. The poor distracted old priest was being held
by the Chinese soldiers so that he could not throw him-
self in the flames and be destroyed. He declared wildly
that it had been set on fire in order to kill him, and
that the water in the irrigation ditch which ran by
the door had been cut off purposely ; but I think in the
end it was decided that it was due to the carelessness
of some of the school children who seemed to be the
only caretakers in the place. The water had not been
cut off, but the river is very low in December, and it
was covered with ice as well. The military commander
at Batang, knowing the Doctor was away, sent eight
men down to see if I was afraid while the fire was
going on. They could not get into the compound, as
the gate was barred, so they broke the gate down and
asked if I was afraid. With my teeth chattering, I
assured them that I was not, but the truth of the mat-
ter was that I was a good deal more afraid of them
than of the Tibetans or of the fire either. However,
I appreciated the courtesy and thanked them, even if
they did break the gate down to protect us.
Every day we heard reports of the trouble in Shang-
chen, and any stranger who seemed a bit suspicious,
or was reported to be from Shangchen, was shot at
once. About ten were shot in one day, and two
SHANGCHEN AND DERGE 95
left lying in the streets, as a lesson to any stranger who
might go by.
A story is connected with Shangchen which runs
something like this : When General Chao was taking
the country and himself occupying the larger town, he
decided to send one of his majors to take Shangchen,
as it was only a village. The major came within sight
of the town, and not a soul was to be seen. The sol-
diers marched over the place, quartering themselves in
the homes, killing what cattle they could find which
the people had not driven away, and having a good
time generally. They soon discovered that all the in-
habitants and the priests had barred themselves inside
the monastery, where they had plenty of grain and
butter and dried meat. The Chinese commander aimed
his guns against the doors and walls, but he might as
well have thrown so many marbles, for he could make
no impression on the solidly built mud walls, as hard
So he said, "All right, we will just wait a little ; they
will soon be starved out." But they did not starve out.
He waited and waited, and the siege grew to six weeks.
The soldiers' food was running low, and there was
nothing to be had. He offered a reward arid promo-
tion to tEe man who would find the source of the
stream of living water which flowed into the monastery
through an underground passage. After a few days,
a man found it, and cut off the water supply. Then
the Tibetans knew they would have to surrender. They
took their flag of truce to the top of the wall, and asked
if the women and children might go out in safety. The
general said, "Yes, open the gates." When the gates
96 SHELTON OF TIBET
were opened, every man, woman, and child that could
be caught was killed. Some six hundred were put to
the sword, while the lamasery was looted and de-
stroyed, and to this day every Shangchen Tibetan hates .
About this time, the news came to us of the war in
Europe, and the vast proportions it was assuming. We
could hardly realize that such a war could occur in the
world again. Then we heard that America was taking
part, and Dr. Shelton offered his services through our
consul at Chungking. He told him that if he ever was
needed, he would send for him. It seemed to me that
the only difference between war in China and war in
Europe was that China was a bit more humane, and
that there were fewer widows and orphans left. The
spirit of anarchy was reaching us, and our mails were
robbed. The Chinese attacked the Tibetans three times
in one year, leaving them with scarcely anything to
eat but dried turnip tops, roots, and various seeds. The
Tibetans then argued that they would turn robber, as
the Chinese had caught only one robber that year, and
hung his head by the Yamen. The Tibetans thought
that if they could get away with the goods, their fami-
lies could live and perhaps only one out of twenty
would be caught.
Almost every day there were two or three beggars
at the door, and you felt ashamed that you had bread
to eat, even if it was not white, when you saw these
miserable beings, and especially their children. Almost
every day, also, we heard more of the Shangchen rebel,
a Chinese in command who rebelled against the gov-
ernment, and played havoc, indeed. A fine bridge over
A CARAVAN PREPARING TO CAMP FOR THE NIGHT
THE HOSPITAL AT BATANG
PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF DERGE. SHE IS A
LHASSA WOMAN NOTICE THE HEAD DRESS
PALACE OF DERGE, HOME OF THE PRINCE AND
PRINCESS OF DERGE
SHANGCHEN AND DERGE 9T
the Hokoe River had been built at General Chao's
order by a German mining engineer, and we heard that
this was entirely destroyed. The Doctor asked to be
allowed to take another trip out in the country, but the
official would not allow him to go, as there were too
many robbers on every side, and nearly every day
brought a report of someone being either killed or
robbed. The spirit of unrest struck the women as well,
and a Tibetan woman decided to run off with a Chi-
nese. Her husband chased her, caught her, and bit off
During these days, Dr. Shelton got ready for a trip
to Derge. Bags and baggage and medicine boxes all
had to be gotten ready, and an official escort asked for.
Derge is a province north of Batang valley, some five
or six days' journey distant. It is noted for its beau-
tiful inlaid work in gold and silver and steel and for
its exquisite teapots of copper, brass, and white metal,
all hand hammered. In it is the city of Beyii, where
there is a large lamasery containing many hundreds of
On reaching this city, the Doctor and his compan-
ions stopped to preach. The Doctor was always wel-
come, and always gladly received. One day, near this
city, he shot a marmot. Now the Tibetans believe that
these are lamas who for some reason or other have to
be reborn as animals. When the marmots go into win-
ter quarters, the Tibetans say they are meditating, and
they never eat them. But the Doctor had his marmot
made into a stew, and as one of the head men was
making him a visit, he invited him to eat with him. He
gave him some bread with the marmot meat on it,
98 SHELTON OF TIBET
which he ate with a great deal of relish, and then
asked for more. Finally he said, "What is this?" The
Tibetan teacher made all kinds of signs to Dr. Shelton,
trying to tell him that he should not reveal what kind
of meat it was, as he knew the superstition concerning
it. But the Doctor frankly said, "It is marmot." The
man looked a little queer, and then said, "Well, I have
eaten some ; I think I will have some more ; it is pretty
good," and held out his bowl, which was promptly
While the Doctor was gone, our finest cow went
mad, or at least seemed to. She nearly tore our house
down, being in the lower, or stable part of the Tibetan
house in which we lived. I had her taken and put in
a barn somewhere else, but she plunged and fell, and
no one could get near her. Finally I asked Mr. Ogden
to shoot her. She was so nice and fat, and gave such
good milk, it seemed a very great loss. But the Tibet-
ans had no fear of what was the matter with her, and
carried her home joyfully to eat. The Tibetan has
no fear of ptomaine poisoning, for even when cattle
die of the rinder-pest, they eat them. Sometimes the
people suffer with great sores on their bodies from eat-
ing bad meat, but it never seems to keep them from
A few days later, the wife of one of our men came
in and brought me a long darning needle which she
said had been found in the stomach of the cow. She
said it was the custom that when people wanted meat
badly and could not afford to buy it, to take one of
these long Chinese darning needles, put it in a ball of
tsamba, and feed it to the cow. The cow does not
SHANGCHEN AND DERGE 99
always die, as we found needles later in other cows
that had not seemed to be in pain. But this poor old
cow suffered intensely, and there was nothing else to
do, even had I known what was the matter with her.
When the Doctor returned, he told at prayer meet-
ing of his trip among the people, and how much he
loved them. He also told how eager they were to come
to him, and have him come to them, and how much he
wished to do for them.
The city of Derge was famous because it was the
chief city in the province, and had been the residence
of the Prince of Derge and his wife. They had been
deposed when General Chao conquered the land, and
had been brought to Batang as prisoners of war, re-
siding there for some years. They were great friends
to us all, and we liked to see the wife of the Prince
dressed in her Lassa head-dress of corals and strings
of pearls, with gold and silver and jade bracelets on
her arms. She wore charm boxes set with sapphires,
turquoises, emeralds, and topaz, and her great earrings,
held up in the head-dress, were almost too heavy to be
worn in the ears. The Prince had no children, so his
wife sent for a relative of hers to be the second wife,
and raise him sons.
The Derge prince and his wife were given a home
by the Chinese in the city of Batang, and were allowed
a certain amount of freedom. He was often invited to
Chinese feasts, and the mission men went along, too.
He hated the wine, which was always served in tiny
cups, as much as the mission men did, so he usually
carried a large handkerchief into which he emptied the
wine, to keep from getting drunk. Later they went
100 SHELTON OF TIBET
back to Derge the prince, his two wives, and their
two babies. But after the Tibetans took the country
again from the Chinese, they were sent to Lassa for
fear they would play again into the hands of the
Chinese and surrender Derge.
About this time, the first three full-blooded Tibetans
were baptized. Two of them were Mr. Ogden's
Tibetan teacher and his wife. The poor old man had
made a hard fight over wine, his great temptation, but
came off victor, and it was good to see his face. When
he attended divine service, he always wore his hat,
according to Tibetan custom, but when he prayed he
removed it, a great token of courtesy.
In August of this year, Dr. Weigold, a German,
came through Batang in search of insects, snakes,
birds, and the like. He seemed to be much interested
in all kinds of insects, worms, and skins, though he did
not seem to know how to cure them very well. The
Doctor had been up on the mountain and shot a deer,
which we divided with the other missionary families.
He and Dr. Weigold had seen many deer, and some
bears, but up to this time had shot none. The builders
were busy at the house, and the Doctor invited them
all to a meal : the head carpenters, the head wall builder,
and the head lumber man.
After a few years' residence in the high altitude of
something over nine thousand feet, one is affected with
sleeplessness. All the mission at times have suffered
in this way. Dr. Shelton had also been troubled with
sleeplessness at different times, so he took a trip to the
mountains to get worn out physically as well as men-
SHANGCHEN AND DERGE 101
tally and see if he could find rest. He shot two blue
sheep on this trip.
Next we heard that four hundred of the Shangchen
Tibetans were out as robbers, taking cattle and grain
from the villagers, who were poor enough already,
killing any Chinese they could find for their clothes
or their guns, and robbing all the mail carriers and
caravans. It has long been a custom with the Chinese
merchants to pay the head robbers so much a year to
let their caravans travel in safety. For some two hun-
dred years the Chinese caravans have been going into
Tibet, taking the brick tea, the blue cotton cloth, iron
pans, silks and brocades, thread, matches, needles, and
other commodities desired by the Tibetans and taking
in exchange musk, wool, deer horns, and gold, which
they took down into China. Here and there a Chinese
married into a Tibetan home, and the Doctor found
two or three who had even forgotten the Chinese lan-
guage. Some had gone so far as to become priests,
and had adopted Tibet as their very own, strange to
In spite of the superiority of the Chinese race so far
as learning and touch with the world is concerned,
they fail to impress any Chinese idea that is worth
while on the Tibetan race. If they remain long in
Tibet, they are absolutely swallowed up by Tibetan
customs. They soon learn to eat the native food, even
to their butter-tea, and become like the Tibetans. The
Tibetan race Tibetanizes the Chinaman who makes
. Tibet his home. He learns to think, and feel, and act,
and live as a Tibetan. This is a tribute to the persist-
ence and individuality of the Tibetan. It is not so
102 SHELTON OF TIBET
with the transient Chinese visitors or officials. They
refuse to learn the language, they scorn the Tibetans as
something like dogs, drive them, beat them, oppress
them, and when they can leave, they are glad to get
away. All this adds to the Tibetan hatred of the Chi-
nese. However, if China would send to Tibet good
men, who were just, and who would help the people,
the Tibetans would welcome the Chinese rule. But it
took over one thousand years to bring the race of buc-
caneers who were our ancestors to something like the
semblance of Christianity which today rules in Eng-
land. With only one hundred years of teaching to her
credit, China is making rapid strides, and in one thou-
sand years from now may dominate the universe.
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT
TIBETAN TREATMENT OF DISEASE. PATIENTS THAT
WERE BROUGHT TO DR. SHELTON
// there is hard work, he is there; if
there is worship, he must be there. Happy
is the place when* resides the man who is
not afraid of his share.
Perhaps there is no people on the globe who know
so much about the construction of the human body as
the Tibetans, and yet who have so little medical knowl-
edge or so few remedies. The facts about anatomy
are learned from one of their modes of burial, the
body being dissected and fed to the birds. In Tibet
illness of all kinds is believed to be the work of devils,
or demons, and to exorcise them it is necessary to have
a holy man, so at the first symptom of approaching
sickness those who can afford it send for a lama to
read prayers over them.
A firm belief in the fact that his enemy can pray
him to death is inherent in every Tibetan, and often
all a man has to do who has a grudge against another
is to send his enemy word that he is praying daily for
his special guardian idol to kill him; and this fact,
coupled with the fear of the idol, usually accomplishes
104 SHELTON OF TIBET
Butter is a universal remedy and is used for every-
thing. Another favorite medicine is pills made of the
prayer, "Om mani padme hum," written on tiny pieces
of paper and rolled up to be swallowed. They also use
pills made from a holy man's urine mixed with clay.
Of course, when a man is ill he sends for the lamas,
and with chanting, with the holy books, the ringing of
bells, and the blowing of horns, with plenty to eat,
and a rupee a day for the lama, the devils are supposed
to be driven out. It is not supposed to be good for a
sick man to sleep, so someone sits by the bedside and
with cold water, or pinching, or blows, he is kept
awake. A cross made of charcoal on the outside of
the throat was supposed to be a cure for being sick at
the stomach. Hair combings were tied around the
ankle to cure a blistered heel. A holy book was placed
on the head to cure a headache or on the stomach to
relieve pain there.
Many of the cases that came to the Doctor lived, be-
cause he worked with a knife in his hand and a prayer
in his heart, and among ourselves, when he had done
all he could, we knew that prayer had done the rest.
The Chinese medicine, too, is very wonderful in
many things. The following is a prescription given to
the Doctor by a Chinese doctor. Just what it is sup-
posed to do, I do not know. These are the ingredients
which went to make up the prescription, in varying
proportions: (i) Deer's horns. (2) Ginseng. (3)
Armadillo. (4) Red mushroom. (5) Digitalis boiled
in human urine. (6) Digitalis leaves, raw. (7) Sweet
root. (8) A long root of grass. (9) Bleeding heart.
,(io) Mushroom, (n) Slippery elm bark. (12)
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 105
Keel. (13) Cloves. (14) Aconite. (15) Black
rocks, a pair, one male, one female. (16) Sea horses,
one pair. (17) Pepper grains. (18) Red dragon
flies. (19) Sparrow brains. (20) Silkworm flies.
(21) Yellow poppy seeds. (22) Mustard seed. (23)
Copperas. (24) Persimmon bark. (25) Asafcetida.
Perhaps the sacredness in which the Chinese hold
the human body has limited their power in medicine to
a great degree. A story is told that one day a general
who was shot in the stomach with an arrow, the barb
being inside of the skin; he called a physician, and told
him to take it away. The man proceeded carefully to
saw off the shaft next the skin on the outside, to tie
up the wound, and say he was finished. The general
protested, saying, "I want the arrow taken out." The
doctor politely answered, "I work only on the outside,
and not on the inside of a man."
Another case we knew about was a woman with
indigestion. She said her rice wouldn't go down, that
it stuck in her throat. The Chinese doctor said, "I
will fix that." He got a short piece of bamboo, and
proceeded to jam the rice down, but in so doing the
bamboo broke, and a sharp splinter went through the
neck of the woman and killed her.
Another case was one of worms. All the natives in
China are troubled with these pests, and in a little vil-
lage where we were, a child was so full, he threw them
up, so the mother proceeded to catch one, and fry it
and feed it to him, as a warning to the rest of them
to hurry and get out, or the same thing would happen
to them !
106 SHELTON OF TIBET
A Tibetan girl of thirteen was on the mountain
watching the cows. The robbers came, and she refused
to run away, so they gave her leg a gash with a sword.
Her people found her and, to stop the bleeding, plas-
tered the cut full of cowdung. She was brought to
the dispensary. If she had been brought in the first
place the healing would have been a simple matter, with
clean washing and bandages; but it was quite another
question to cleanse the wound then and heal it without
On one of the little mountain trips the Doctor was
called in to see an old woman of seventy. He found
her in a barn, sitting in the filth of ages which just
cannot be described. She had been upon the moun-
tain after wood, and had fallen and broken her thigh.
The leg lay at an angle of thirty degrees, the bone
sticking entirely out through the flesh. As the leg
had been like this for several days, it was horribly
swollen, and the smell frightful. It was impossible
to effect a cure ; the Doctor could only wash and cleanse
it, leave a bit of salve for alleviating pain, and go on.
One morning about ten o'clock a man came to the
dispensary saying his two-year-old baby had fallen
into the fire the evening before and his limbs were
burned badly, and would the Doctor go ; the child was
hurt so they could not carry him on their backs down
the mountain. Medicine and bandages and necessary
instruments were thrown into saddle-bags, some food
gotten together quickly, a bed strapped behind the far
saddle, and the men were off up the steep mountain to
remain the night and relieve that tiny baby's suffering.
It had been burned now almost twenty-four hours, with
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 107
no help at all, and nothing whatever to help ease the
pain ; and even a little burn hurts so badly. They found
the baby burned down the front of both little legs and
a bit across the abdomen. He was soon well enough
to be carried down the mountain to the dispensary to
have the burns dressed.
One morning a lama, called a living Buddha, came
and asked the foreign doctor to ride to a village a
day's journey away, over a near-by mountain, where a
mud house had fallen and some people were hurt. No
white man or Chinese had been in that wild place be-
fore, and going seemed hazardous. They asked that
only one foreigner come, and perforce the Doctor was
the one to go. A native evangelist, two soldiers, and
the lama made the rest of the crowd; and when they
came to the first village they stopped for breakfast. At
first the people were frightened nearly out of their
wits, but when they found nothing was going to harm
them they brought the best they had for the travelers,
setting butter, tea, tsamba, and a kind of sour milk-
cheese before them. Poor as these people were, they
gave the big lama a catta (a scarf of loosely-woven
silk) and three rupees for his blessing. Soon they were
in the saddle and traveling onward again, and arrived
about five o'clock at the village. They found six had
been killed and three hurt by the falling of the heavy
mud walls. When Dr. Shelton started to see the man
who was hurt so badly, they wouldn't allow him to be
seen, but made excuses of all kinds and were afraid,
even after sending a day's journey for help. The for-
eign doctor turned away and said, all right; he didn't
108 SHELTON OF TIBET
want to visit anybody unless he was wanted. Then
they begged him to wait until the next day.
He agreed and went to the shed on top of the house
to sleep, and was awakened by mud and water falling
on the bed, as it was raining. The big lama was
awakened, too, and the two began talking. He asked
Dr. Shelton why he did such things for people and got
no money for it, and wliy he left America, and what
he wanted to come to their country for, anyway. That
was the opportunity, and he was told why and for
what reason and for whose sake, and how it was made
possible by the followers of the Nazarene at home, who
for His dear sake gave that the Tibetans might know.
The lama listened and said, "That is just like our re-
ligion, only we don't do it."
The next morning in a thick fog the people came
for the foreigner to see the man. He found him lying
on a pile of filthy sheep-skins, both legs and arms
broken. They had been broken for eight days before
his coming. An effort had been made to set the bones
by putting on very small splints and wrapping them as
tightly as could be, pulled around and around with
a narrow rawhide string of yak hide, with some of the
hair still clinging to it. Some of the bones had been
replaced fairly well, and one arm was tied to the ceil-
ing., All were compound fractures. Chloroform was
given and the wrappings removed. The swelling was
fearful, and the pus flew in every direction. The stench
was dreadful. After the man had recovered from the
effects of the chloroform, he said he felt better. Then
Dr. Shelton asked why he would not see him as soon
as he arrived. "Oh," he said, "I had heard that for-
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 109
eigners slit the flesh with knives and rub the medicine
into the cut." They also believe that a stranger com-
ing off the road is covered with devils, and if he came
at once into the presence of a sick person the devils
would all pounce upon him and kin him.
The next morning the hands and feet were better
and the swelling had gone down some, but the poor fel-
low was covered with lice and had rheumatism, and
there was little hope that he could recover. They asked
the foreign man to come again, and he replied he would
return whenever he was wanted; but in three or four
days a messenger came, saying the man was dead and
returning the medicine that had not been used.
Perhaps for pure, concentrated suffering the follow-
ing incident will suffice :
There was a Tibetan woman who brought milk to
the mission every day. True, it had a layer of dirt in
the bottom and was never guilty of any cream on top,
and had always to be boiled. Perhaps it was diluted
with water and bean curd, and was a mixture of goat
and yak milk. It was rather white; but it was called
cream and used as such. For two mornings the woman
failed to come. About noon of the second day her
sister came and said her house had fallen down and
they had all been burned. The place was two or three
miles distant, so we took a sedan-chair for the baby
and me, while Mr. Ogden and Dr. Shelton walked,
carrying their guns, thinking they might shoot a
pheasant for supper.. It was a beautiful day and quite
a rest to get away from the filth and stench of the city.
When we came near the house the chair was put down,
and we all walked up the mountain a little way to
110 SHELTON OF TIBET
where the people lived. It is impossible to find words
to picture the awful misery and suffering that we saw.
The house was built on the hillside, of stone with
mud mortar. The floor was made of round poles about
the size of a man's arm, laid on some kind of cross-
pieces. On these poles a few skins were laid, and this
was the bed of the family, for they slept on that cordu-
roy floor. In one corner was a pile of dirt and three
or four stones, and on these had been placed a big, flat,
iron pan of boiling water. In some way the floor had
fallen in, taking all of them with it, as well as the hot
water. The goats and yak were kept in the basement
of the building. Filth had accumulated for years, for
the idea of cleaning a barn had not yet occurred to these
Tibetans. For forty-eight hours those burned people
had been sitting on the ground in agony which cannot
be told. They had no relief whatever no vaseline, no
oil, not even a clean rag with which to bind the burns.
Beside the woman on the ground was the iron pan with
water and cornmeal, and some kind of a green vege-
table stirred in it. This was all the food they had.
Mr. Ogden had brought some bread and meat, which
we laid down by them, and Dr. Shelton begali to look
at their burns.
A boy of ten was burned from the knee halfway to
the thigh, the great blisters standing out on his legs.
A little boy of seven or eight had escaped entirely ; the
baby, a little girl of four, had been burned to death.
The poor mother cried and said how pretty she was.
The man was able to walk, but his leg was badly
burned, and he had a great gash in his head. The
woman was burned from below her knee to her thigh.
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 111
There were great blisters as big as the palm of her
hand on her leg, and the flesh seemed almost ready to
drop off. She sat on the ground moaning and almost
helpless. The men forgot their guns and began to
The little boy was frightened when the Doctor took
his instruments to open the blisters, being very much
afraid of the glistening lances. As the Doctor had
taken only a small box of vaseline, he could do nothing
for the boy or the woman there. So she was sent on
in the chair to the dispensary, while Baby and I
walked home. Mr. Ogden with a few dried leaves and
stems had made a fire and got some hot water. There
was just enough vaseline and bandages to dress the
man's leg and head, and he and the little unburned boy
were left. But how to get the other boy to town was
a question. He could not be carried on anyone's back,
so Mr. Ogden and Dr. Shelton made a stretcher of
sheepskins and two poles, set him upon that and, one
in front and one behind, they carried him in. These
poor people were taken care of, fed, and treated until
they were able to take care of themselves.
One day a woman came to the dispensary saying her
stomach was full of pus, and that a Tibetan had made
a hole in it with an iron rod to let it out. She had the
hole over the stomach, and the odor was frightful. It
had been done about one month before, but when she
was told a knife or probe must be used to see where
the opening went, and how deep it was, she refused to
have it done, left the dispensary, and invited a lot of
lamas to read prayers for her.
A little child ten or eleven years old who had been
112 SHELTON OF TIBET
begging on the streets for some days was found lying
on the stones and in a dying condition. Dozens of
men and women passing and repassing never seemed
even to pity, let alone aid. The child was taken to the
dispensary, cleaned, and fed, but died that night. Next
day it was buried by the mission. "Unto one of these
little ones." How people can be born, live, suffer, and
die with no medical help to ease pain is a difficult thing
for one to understand in such a country as this, where
the ground is kept clean, the water is looked after, the
food is carefully examined, teeth are cared for, and all
pain is stopped as soon as may be by the latest scien-
tific methods and the keenest brains to use them. Try
to imagine a land and people where these things are
all lacking. The Chinese have many drugs which they
use in a somewhat skillful way, and many physicians
with a sort of medical skill, who demand high prices
for their services, very few doing charity work among
the poor. And heretofore the Chinese have always
had the solace of opium in severe pain. The Tibetans
have no medical science at all, and only a blind trust
in their holy men to help them in and through all ills.
There is no nation perhaps so full of religion as
Tibet. It is everywhere : strung on prayer flags, across
and across the mountains from tree to tree, on top of
the passes, on long poles, in great skin cylinders turned
by water-power, in metal prayer-wheels whirled in
the hand, or carved on miles and miles of stones along
the roads. Religion is everywhere, on everything, in
everything. It is in the people as they make their pil-
grimage to Lassa and home again; as they wall them-
selves in stone huts, away from the sunlight, for years
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 113
and years to meditate and pray ; going over snow moun-
tains, through valleys, in cold and in heat on their
stomachs to the holy city, taking years to accomplish
their pilgrimage, to be holy men in the end. The land
is full of lamas, hundreds, thousands of them ; praying
always, but leading obscene lives religion-surfeited.
It is a religion of self, for self, enduring pain and
hardship, solitary confinement, muttering millions of
prayers for the exaltation of self, while those who
must serve these holy ones live in hopeless poverty.
These priests pitilessly demand money and food when
they must have help. It is a religion of husks. Ours
is, too, sometimes isn't it ? when we forget the com-
passionate heart of the great Master and dream of self
and rest, self-satisfied in our own goodness as we com-
pare ourselves to our fellows. But look once, just
once, at Him when He was tired, weary, dust-stained,
and with a heart aching over a world that would not
see, and stand one moment before the bar of self and
with bowed head and humbled heart ask if we are many
times less selfish or more compassionate than these
"holy" priests of Tibet.
Religion cannot be thrust upon a Tibetan. If he
thought that was what was happening when he comes
for medicine and sympathy, he would certainly turn
and have some very important affairs to see to at once.
The Chinese are reached more easily, perhaps, than the
Tibetans; at least they usually come first for medicine.
Someone is pounding on the mission gate, is in a
desperate hurry and wants help at once. Two men
have had a quarrel and the one worsted has rushed
home, taken a drink of opium mixed with wine and
SHELTON OF TIBET
come back to die on his enemy's doorstep. In despair,
as he believes if the man dies on his step the soul will
return to haunt him, besides his having to pay the
funeral expenses, he runs to the foreign doctor for
help. The missionary goes, but has used only a small
hypodermic syringe, or "water-gun," while the patient
is being held, and the man desperately cries, "Is that all
you are going to do ?" "Wait and see," is the answer,
and soon that isn't all that is being done by any means.
The man quickly recovers and the foreigner has gained
a victory and his reputation is started.
Perhaps the first thing of any importance that
brought a knowledge of the use of foreign medicine to
the Tibetans was the slight operation on the hand of
a big lama belonging to one of the lamaseries in Ta-
chienlu. The big fellow and two or three of his fol-
lowers came one morning to the house, saying he had
thrust a needle into his hand and broken, it off in the
fleshy part just below the thumb and couldn't get it out.
He was told that the flesh would have to be cut and
small tweezers used to draw the broken piece out. "Yes,
but it will hurt," the big fat lama objected. "No," the
doctor said, "it will not. Ill put some medicine on
with this needle and that will hurt a little, but you can
stand that, can't you?" He thought he could, so the
hand was deadened with cocaine, the knife thrust in
and the needle quickly extracted. While the lama's
eyes grew bigger and bigger and those standing around
groaned and asked if it didn't hurt, he said, "No, it
didn't, but just look at the blood." This simple opera-
tion drove another small missionary wedge into this
land in the shape of a needle.
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 115
One morning a man came into the little courtyard in
Tachienlu asking for medicine or the use of a knife for
his master, who was with him and who was ill. He
was invited to bring his master and come to the house.
Upon examination it was found that there were some
scrofulous glands that needed the surgeon's knife. But
the instruments were gone ; Johnny had taken the boxes
of drugs and instruments and gone on ahead of the
missionaries to Batang. The operation was impossi-
ble, and the man had come one month's journey from
the south for help. What was to be done ? The man
decided for himself to follow the missionary for eight-
een days more on to Batang to have those glands re-
A few days after reaching Batang the man was there,
too, and wanted his work done. The chloroform and
necessary instruments and medicines were unpacked;
a door taken down and used as a table was placed in
the upstairs courtyard. The man was placed upon it
where everyone could see, so they would know that the
foreigner had no secret magical power, no dreadful
medicine to conjure with or devils to aid him, and the
operation was done. Then twenty-five days to his home
the man had still to go, but he returned happy. This
was the first operation in Batang and the entering
wedge had grown a bit larger.
Not so many days after getting to Batang and open-
ing the little mud dispensary and putting the beds up
in the inn, a big red card came from the Chinese offi-
cial asking Dr. Shelton to come to the yamen, as he
wished to see him about a small affair. Seizing his
hat, with some uneasiness he went to the house of the
116 SHELTON OF TIBET
official. The official received him most graciously, gave
him the chair of honor, and insisted on filling his teacup
several times. Then he asked after the health of both
families for several generations back, until finally,
squirming around, Dr. Shelton said, "You sent for me ;
what was it you wanted me to do?" "Oh," said the
official, "there's a Tibetan down here that's hurt a lit-
tle. A rock fell and struck his head. I'd like to have
you go down and fix him up." "All right," replied
the Doctor ; and after another siege of Oriental bowing
and scraping he went to find the injured man. Going
by the dispensary, he got a washpan, hot water, band-
ages, and instruments for fixing a scalp wound. He
went to the Tibetan house and found the poor fellow
on a pile of straw and manure, where he had been car-
ried and laid about two hours before.
The Doctor found that, instead of it being a scalp
wound, the skull was crushed and the brains were
oozing from the wound. He dropped the instrument
on the ground and went back to the official faster than
he went the first time. After gaining admittance he
marched up to him and said : "I can't operate on that
man. I dare not. He will die if I do, and I'm not
going to touch him." "Well, but you must do some-
thing. Can't you do anything for him?" objected the
official. "Yes, I can ; but I don't want to, for if he
died under the foreigner's knife it might mean the
lives of us all." "Well," replied the mandarin, "you
go on, and I'll stand back of you, whatever the result
may be." So back went the Doctor in great fear, to do
what he knew he ought to do to save the life of this
TIBET AS A DOCTOR SAW IT 117
It seemed that so much depended on the success of
the first surgical work, perhaps the lives of the for-
eigners there, the stability and possibility of a Tibetan
mission. It seemed a pity to destroy all the work and
hope of years that had gone before with a stroke or two
of the surgeon's knife; but it must be done, and with
shut teeth and a passionate prayer for help he went to
work. The poor fellow was lifted and placed on a door
and carried into a Tibetan house. A sheet was taken
and stretched up to keep the dirt from falling on him
as the doctor worked. He began washing and shaving
dirty, lousy, tangled, buttered hair. Then twelve pieces
of bone were taken out, and the wound was closed over
and bandaged. The poor fellow was just about used
up when he came out from under the anaesthetic.
Dr. Shelton came home with a set face and said,
"The man will be dead in the morning. I did the
best I could, but I don't see how he can possibly live."
We felt pretty downhearted that night and fearful of
what the morrow would bring. After breakfast he
went to see his patient, and the chap tried to raise up
off his straw bed to thank him ! With a face perfectly
blank with surprise, and yet in which awe and thank-
fulness were mingled, he returned and said: "Well,
I did the best I could; but by all the knowledge of
medicine I possess, that man should have been dead
this morning. The Lord has healed him." There was
no other explanation for it. In a month the fellow
was ready to walk home, one hundred miles, and he
left the city.
One day some three or four months later, as Dr.
Shelton was coming to dinner from the dispensary,
118 SHELTON OF TIBET
he saw two old people about fifty or sixty years of
age, perhaps coming towards him; and as they ap-
proached, down both went on their knees, bumping
their heads on the ground. He asked: "What is the
matter ? What do you want ? Get up ; we don't allow
that." They arose and took a few steps, and down
they went once more, kotowing and pounding the
ground with their foreheads. Again he told them to
get up, and asked again what it was they wanted.
Then they said: "Do you remember that man whose
head was caved in?. Well, he is our son, and we have
come to thank you for saving his life." They did not
know that the foreign doctor had had little to do with
that; but as they had never heard the name of Jesus,
they could only think it was the foreigner.
Being too poor to hire a horse, those two old people
had come about one hundred miles on foot, about five
or six days' journey, to thank this man for saving their
son. Out of his dirty sheepskin gown the man pulled
a chicken, a wad of butter, and some eggs as pay for
this medical service. The money value wasn't much,
but the heartfelt gratitude couldn't be measured in
silver and gold. Lives wasted among these people?
Ah, no; for in the Master's service there is always
compensation that is infinitely more of value than gold
or precious stones.
MISSIONARIES TURN BUILDERS
SUITABLE HOSPITAL AND DWELLING HOUSES ERECTED.
"Happiness is like rabbits' hornst,
scarce and hard to find. Sorrow, like the
rings of an antelope's horns, can be
found without hunting."
Building is rather a difficult proposition in the land
of Tibet. There is no finished material, and one must
get the raw material and patiently prepare it. The
first decision of the mission was to build brick houses
and hospitals. During our first stay in Batang, Chinese
brickmakers were employed, several thousand brick
burned, and a little lumber bought and laid aside to
season for the inside work.
Then Dr. Shelton went home on furlough, and in
the meantime, China decided to become a republic,
war came on, and all the missionaries had to leave
the station. On their return, they found some of the
brick had been stolen, and after further study, decided
that it would be best to use mud for the walls, as the
Tibetans did, because the houses were to be examples
and models for better homes. If they were put up
with some impossible and expensive material which the
120 SHELTON OF TIBET
natives knew nothing about, or could not buy, they
would furnish no incentive for better native building.
Besides, the use of mud was a more economical prop-
The Doctor had never built anything before, but it
had to be done. The brick he had burned was on hand
and would do for walks, chimneys, porch posts, and
other purposes whenever needed. The first task was to
get the lumber. The mountains around Batang were at
one time covered with beautiful timber, but in order to
get the wood for fuel, without the labor of cutting it,
the wood choppers set the mountains on fire, and they
burned for days. Then they picked up the charred and
broken timber without having to chop it down, and
carried it home. So no timber fit for building pur-
poses could be had nearer than about fifteen miles from
home. Men had to be hired, their food purchased,
wages settled, and then these workmen taken to a camp
in the forest. They cut the upright trees, then peeled
them, and after enough were cut, slid them into the
river to be carried to Batang. There the men, bare-
footed in the ice-cold water, watched for the logs, fished
them out on shore, and carried them over on the hill
to the carpenters.
One funny old Chinese was the head carpenter, and
had with him his two half-caste sons. He had learned
his trade as a youth in China, but had dwelt many
years in Batang, and had taught the Tibetans how to
build. Sometimes he did more harm than good, for he
was very slow and deliberate, and the sons could not
do- anything unless they asked him, although they
&new as much about the work as he did. But he was
MISSIONARIES TURN BUILDERS 121
old, and after the Chinese custom, they gave the old
man the preference every time, in every way. He
was always forgiven for his scoldings and his sons
never lost patience with him. They took such good
care of him that every day he had a bowl of melted
butter and honey to drink.
Many times Doctor took his bed on his mule, his
food in his saddle bags, and his medicine boxes, and
went to spend the night in camp, to see how the work
was progressing. It would have been slow enough at
best, for these people always have plenty of time.
There is always a to-morrow, and hurry seems to have
been left out of the Oriental when he was created.
We were much excited over the prospect of new
houses, for when it rained, the yellow mud from the
roofs of the native houses melted and ran down the
walls and through the ceilings on to the beds and tables
and floors. We disliked the rats that ran around at
night and bit the babies' toes and nibbled the Doctor's
hair. One night we borrowed a cat, though it is very
difficult to get a tame one in that country, and next
morning we found the tail of the chief rat under the
bed, so he was finished, if his entire family wasn't.
One night Doctor was among the lumbermen, and as
he sat talking with them, they said: "To-morrow we
will show you the tree for your 'God's house.' It is
the tallest, and biggest, and most perfect in all the
forest." Strange they thought of giving the best tree
to the temple; and, sure enough, the next day they
showed it to him. It was tall, straight, and majestic,
a fitting part of a house of God. It was full fifty
feet without a flaw, and almost of uniform size to
122 SHELTON OF TIBET
that height. For two long years the men cut and meas-
ured and hammered and sawed, building the inside
frame and the doors and window frames, while the
wall builders built their scaffold of boards and ropes
and poles, carrying the dirt and water on the women's
backs. This they poured between the boards, while
the beaters pounded it, singing always to the rhythm
of "Om mani," the universal prayer of Tibet. Lime
had to be burned and cement made, as the lower story
of each building was floored with cement. All the
roofing, glass, paint, door-knobs, hinges, putty, screws,
and whatever else goes to make a house which could
not been found in China, had been taken out from
There are just a very few signs of civilization which
have preceded the missionaries to Batang. One is the
Standard Oil tin ; another is the cigarette ; and once in a
while there is brought over the mountains a sardine tin,
or a can of pork and beans.
The houses were all finished at last, and we moved
in. How clean and sweet they did smell, the first
houses to be occupied by us in which hundreds of people .
had not lived before us ! Then into the hospital went
the new beds, with covers and pillows and springs.
This was the first hospital in all Tibet! We felt that
the sick would all be delighted to lie on springs instead
of a hard board, but often the Doctor would find the
patient on the floor instead of on the bed. He had
always slept on a board with a stone for a pillow,
and he felt that because the bed wiggled it was not
But what a relief to have a place to take sick folks
MISSIONARIES TURN BUILDERS 123
and care for them properly! Now that the building
was done, the Doctor was not tied so tightly at home,
and went traveling more. He was always looking for
a place where a new station might be started when we
had men to place there. Cases sometimes came in
"showers," as they used to do in Tachienlu, only here
there were more often knife cases. At one time there
were three thus injured at the same time. One was
wounded in the back, and the knife thrust clear into
the lungs. This man, as he got better, took walks
among the Chinese graves, and looked like the man in
the New Testament, who "wandered among the tombs."
One, wounded in the knee, was the most serious case
a direct thrust just above the knee cap. The third was
wounded in the abdomen. This man was brought in in
the evening, and had to be attended to at once, so our
teacher went to hold the lamp. He came back in about
an hour with the sweat rolling off his face, and said,
"The Doctor has unraveled that man and put him all
back together again." He got well, in spite of the
The teacher's baby girl died, and we wished to have
a funeral and put her body in a little coffin. He was
willing, but his wife and mother were not. "No,"
they said, "she must be thrown into the river, that she
may be quickly and utterly destroyed, and quickly re-
born"; and it was done.
A few years later, this man's grandson died, and
when he came back to work again, he said, "We put
him in a coffin and all his best clothes were on him, and
he looked very nice, as if he was asleep, just as you
foreigners do." So the leaven worketh.
124 SHELTON OF TIBET
Every year at Christmas time, it has been the custom
of the mission and the native church to give a meal to
the poor and to the beggars, after preaching and sing-
ing in a short service, and something over two hundred
hear a sermon and get filled up. Many days before
they would come, asking, "Isn't it about the birthday of
your Jesus, when you feed the poor and hungry in
His name ?"
There was one old beggar woman in Batang who
didn't have a tooth. Her hair was in gray, twisted
mats, she wore a few wisps of clothing, and carried
her beggar staff. She always met the Doctor with a
broad smile. He asked her one day how old she was,
and she said, "A hundred and twenty." After that
he always called her "Jada Nehu," which is a hundred
and twenty in Tibetan. This greatly amused her, and
after she received her coin, she folded her hands in
thanks, and called him her "precious jewel." There
is love even in a beggar's greeting, if you have love
with which to awaken it.
Another interesting character was a queer old man
whose face looked like a moon. He lived at one of
the mills, and always came to the Christmas dinner. He
had a rim of whiskers around his chin, reaching from
ear to ear. He had a smile for everybody, and we
were all grieved when we heard that the old man was
dead. A strange thing happened in connection with
his death. A superstition often repeated becomes a
custom which dare not be broken. There is one that
during the buckwheat harvest no corpse shall be thrown
into the river, because the gods will be angry and
open the heavens and throw out the hail. They would
MISSIONARIES TURN BUILDERS 125
have to open the heavens to let the spirit in, so of
course the hail would fall out, and the buckwheat
would all be shattered and lost. Because of this strange
superstition, the old man's body was buried under the
dirt floor of his little hut until the harvest should be
completed. What had been done was discovered by
one of the missionaries who made a call in the house
and asked what the stench could be. However, no
one dared do anything with the corpse until every grain
of the buckwheat was harvested.
A leper came to church many Sundays. He had
heard that Jesus healed such as he. After a time he
could come no longer, but the little church tenderly
cared for him until he died and then I wonder if he
found why men could not heal him, and if all was made
"No-legged Joe" was another Christian belonging to
the Church militant both legs had been frozen, and
were amputated by the Doctor halfway between the
knee and the ankle. He walked on his knees, and
was one of the trusted rug makers. Everywhere he
preached, and did not understand why everyone
shouldn't believe so good a thing as the story of Christ.
A blind man and his Tibetan wife came into the
church. One night he dreamed that their old rock
stove-place fell down, and was built up new. He in-
terpreted it to mean that the old religion would be
destroyed and a new one put in its place.
The Tibetans have many pretty songs, and to the
tunes they improvise many of their own words. The
gamut of the scale is usually about five notes, but the
126 SHELTON OF TIBET
music sounds very well indeed. One of their songs has
this meaning :
"Over the mountains from the east
Has the foreigner come.
Whether for good or ill,
We must wait and see."
TRAVELING AMONG ROBBER TRIBES
UPRISING OF CHINESE SOLDIERS. DR. SHELTON MAKES
TWO JOURNEYS INTO THE LAND OF ROBBERS
"Man's ability either great or small
comes not by worry; his life, whether
long or short, is not measured by a rule."
The Batang valley is probably the best valley and the
most fertile between Tachienlu and Lassa. Every
year two crops are raised in the fields. There is very
little rain, and nine months are usually absolutely dry.
Everything is grown by irrigation. All through the
year manure and tramped straw are piled in the lower
part of the two-story Tibetan houses, ready for the
planting of the wheat. The fields are plowed and
sowed with wheat or barley about in January. Long
ago, the sowing of the wheat could not be done until
the master of the ruling house had first planted his
field. Before the seed is put in, this manure and filth
are dug from the houses, carried in baskets on the
women's backs, and dumped on the fields. This seems
to be a great "cleaning up" time. At least a great
deal of filth is carried from the homes.
The wheat and barley are usually harvested in July.
They are cut with a hand sickle, and carried in on the
128 SHELTON OF TIBET
women's backs or by donkeys. The grain is put on
the tops of the houses, and the flat mud roof is used
for the threshing floor. It sounds very pretty in the
afternoons as all over the city the people are beating
with the flails, and singing, "O, Mani, Padme Ore."
The buckwheat harvest comes in October, and the
valley is very attractive with the flowers of pink or
green, as the lamas happened to have cast lots and
told the people which kind to plant, whether the sweet
or the bitter. The sweet were all pink fields, and the
bitter were yellowish green. A certain amount must
be paid to the Chinese official for taxes; another share
is due the priests, and some must go for debt before
the people have their store for the winter. They often
have little left, but manage to live through.
At New Year's time the Tibetans keep the celebra^
tion much after the Chinese order, with feasting and
drinking and gambling, while the children play with
the paper dragon. The people bring a catta, and wish
you many happy returns of the day. This is a long,
white scarf. The short ones are about a foot long,
of thin silk, stiffened with starch. The longer ones,
five or six feet long, come 'from the higher officials.
They bring the catta to you and place it around your
neck as they wish you a happy New Year. The Chi-
nese children, or the half-castes, come in to "worship
the year" with you, and to get a copper coin.
As time went on, conditions grew worse and worse.
The poor mail carriers between Batang and Litang
had to travel at night, and it took the caravans months
to get through. At this time we had rather an exciting
experience, though the excitement did not last long,
DR. SHELTON AND THE HIGH PRIEST IN BATANG
MISSIONARIES FEEDING THE BEGGARS OF BATANG
TRAVELING AMONG ROBBER TRIBES 129
and we knew nothing about it until it was all over, for
we had slept peacefully through it all! The soldiers
had had no pay for over a year, and the General being
absent in Tachienlu for some months, they planned
to kill the city official, have the military man in charge
take possession of the yamen (Chinese city official
residence), loot and burn as they pleased, take the
town, rob the shops of the merchants, and also rob
the foreigners if they felt so disposed. As we were
so far from the center of authority, no help could
have come that would have been of any avail. It had
all been planned to happen at three o'clock in the
morning, but the official found it out at nine o'clock
the evening before and got busy. Six of the plotters
were arrested, two shot, four flogged, and some held
as prisoners. From all the country round came the
news that in every station where there was a garrison
of soldiers, they were rebelling against the Govern-
ment because they had had no pay for so long a time.
It is harder to keep the Chinese soldiers under con-
trol than it is to govern the Tibetans. A few days
later, two more Chinese soldiers were killed at Batang,
and fourteen beheaded at Litang. The city official
finally went out and collected all the money he could
from the merchants and from the Tibetans, and paid
it to the soldiers. He told them that the General was
coming, bringing loads of rice, clothing, and money.
General Lu came in from Tachienlu bringing a Chi-
nese wife whom he had bought. His Tibetan wife,
who had been the wife of another official, and whom
he had forced to marry him, had heard he was coming
with a Chinese wife, and in great anger had moved
130 SHELTON OF TIBET
out of the yamen. She declared she would never live
with him again, but, poor thing, she found herself
helpless. As the General came, bringing his Chinese
wife, a little girl of about fourteen, everybody went
to meet them except the Tibetan wife. This General
Lu of course had a wife in his ancestral home, beside
this Tibetan wife, and now had bought him another
Chinese wife. He and Dr. Shelton were great friends.
He often came to our house for meals, and I would
chide him for having three wives. The Doctor would
tell him that one was all he could stand, but the General
declared he was a perfectly good American that he
was a Mormon !
The political unrest was not all on the Tibetan bor-
der. The unrest was all over China, and it still con-
tinues. The North wants one thing, the South another,
and the province of Yunnan has just made herself into
a state, coining her own money and stamps. A legend
is told of an old temple in China in whose courtyard
grows an old tree, perhaps two thousand years old.
In the olden times, when a new emperor was to rule,
a branch sprang from the tree and proceeded to grow,
beginning to wither as his power decreased and the end
of his reign grew near. When the Empress Dowager
and her son (so-called) ruled, two branches sprang
from this tree, withering when they died. When the
Little Emperor was dethroned, and could not rule, the
little branch on the tree, representing him, ceased to
grow. Now the priests say there are two great limbs
beginning to grow, meaning that China is to be divided
into two parts, with a great ruler over each.
The Doctor soon prepared for another trip. He and
TRAVELING AMONG ROBBER TRIBES 131
the teacher decided to travel up in the mountains
among the robber tribes. The teacher's wife came
from one of the robber tribes, for it was the custom
that when one member of a Tibetan family was a
merchant and his wife could be taken from the robber
tribes, they would not rob his caravan as he went about
Tibet, since they were kin. The two men went over
roads so narrow that the mule could hardly keep her
footing. In one place, the loads all had to be removed
and carried by men and women, while they assisted
the mule by one holding the bridle and another the
tail to keep her from rolling over the precipice.
They returned from their fine journey as brown as
could be. Usually when the Doctor came back from
a journey, his face would be burned with the sun, and
his lips cracked with the cold, so on one journey, a
little fiercer than the others, his men told him to stop
washing that they never washed, but just used butter,
which keeps the skin smooth. On this journey among
the robbers, the people had seen no foreign man be-
fore, and were afraid of him and the pictures and the
tracts, but were soon reassured when they found he
had medicine, and could speak their language. He
found one woman living with five husbands, and an-
other with eight. As these robbers had been making
trouble for the Chinese, they asked Dr. Shelton to act
as middleman between the Chinese official and the rob-
bers of Sa-gnen. It is rather difficult for the Chinese
to deal with the people, as they know nothing of the
language, and an interpreter must always be employed,
who translates as he likes.
Through one of these interpreters our teacher came
132 SHELTON OF TIBET
near losing his life. They called him up to the yamen
and the official asked him to pay his taxes in advance.
Through an interpreter of course he said he would do
so, but asked for a few days to get the money, as they
have little ready cash. For some reason the interpreter
told the official that he refused to pay. The official
grabbed a gun, pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger.
Some of his men threw up the barrel and the bullet
went through the roof, but the teacher was beaten and
thrown into prison for some days.
The Doctor was home only a few days when he was
off on another journey. He took Li Guay Guang with
him this time. This was the little boy we had taken
in Tachienlu. He had developed into a fine evangelist,
and did some splendid preaching on this journey to
Jangka. The Doctor found that his middleman affair
between the Batang official and Sa-gnen robbers was
about to be settled, and the official told him he might
go into the district again.
There is a strange thing about the Tibetans' thought
of religion. They do not want a religion that is mild
and gentle and loving; they want a gospel so big with
power that they can demand justice from the Chinese
and control them in every way. This time of the year
was the Chinese Moon Cake Festival, and the children
said it was safe to go out of doors to play at night,
for there were no ghosts on earth, Heaven was opened
wide, and they had all gone up to drink tea!
We wondered how the men were getting along in the
robber land. The soldiers did not come back and
bring us a letter, and we had had no word, but in a
day or two they arrived. The Doctor had had a won-
TRAVELING AMONG ROBBER TRIBES 133
derful trip, for it was on this journey that he had shot
the superstitious lama's charm box all to pieces, and
with it the poor little goat which was supposed to be
protected by its wonderful power, but that story read-
ers of "Pioneering in Tibet" already know. It must
be a difficult thing to have all your faith knocked out
of you by a bullet, and no new faith to which you can
Missionary work is the doing of little things all the
time. There is no one big thing in everyday service
among needy people. All anyone can do is to leave a
"thumb print," which stands for his work among his
people. The time it endures depends upon the amount
of love used in the making.
In early October the mountains all around had al-
ready become white with snow, and the first frost of
the season was at hand. The Tibetans "smudge" as do
the orange growers of Southern California, for they
build fires all around the fields of buckwheat which is
yet too green for harvest, trying to keep it warm.
The backbone of the lamas' power is broken here in
the city. The people still follow them, still ask for
charms, and still worship the priests, but only because
they are afraid not to. In former days, no priest
dared marry. Should they find one guilty, they caught
him, stripped him, painted one half of him red and
the other half white, set him astride a yak, and drove
him into the wilderness. To-day the priest who is
supposed to be the reincarnation of Buddha is married
and lives with his wife openly. Several more are
married and live with their wives secretly. It came
to the ears of the chief priest that another priest had
134. SHELTON OF TIBET
a wife. He called him up, and said, "You must put
this woman away; you are ruining our religion and our
authority." "All right," replied the priest, "if you
will make this lama and this lama and this lama put
their wives away, I am quite willing to obey." So we
know that though the people obey outwardly, inwardly
they are beginning to see that the priests are only as
Again Christmas time came, and the poor were fed.
All the school children, all the servants and their fam-
ilies had a bit of Christmas. Then came our own
Christmas, with as near turkey as we could get, which
was chicken, and a Christmas tree and Santa Claus for
the little folks. In the midst of it all, men came for
Dr. Shelton, for the Chinese General had sent for him.
He stayed from noon until one o'clock, and went back
at half -past one and stayed until six, for General Lu
was expecting his first son, and he was born of his
Chinese concubine that evening.
Truly the customs of this barren land are much the
same as in the days of Abraham. Men may marry
their father's relations, and often do so, but it is not
allowable on the mother's side, and the lineage is traced
through the woman of the house.
SOME NATURE STUDIES IN TIBET
A SEARCH FOR GOLD. "THE GRASS-WORM." DISTINC-
TIVE TIBETAN CUSTOMS
"It is as difficult for two men to agree
as it is to shoot two does with one shot!'
Knowing the language as the Doctor did, there was
much which he might have discovered and given to the
world about Tibet and its people, its customs, laws,
and places of interest. Tibet is a virgin soil for any
field of science or scientific investigation, all practically
untouched. Explorers and travelers have only touched
the edges, and leaders, such as Roy Chapman An-
drews, could give to the world a marvelous amount of
new knowledge about Tibet. In fact, one might find
the Garden of Eden or the "Missing Link," as the
Tibetan story of their own origin is that a monkey
mated with a demon, and from them sprang the
To one who knows the language, it is far easier to
gain knowledge of the people and from the people than
it is for one who does not know it. With this knowl-
edge of the language, with love in his heart and healing
in his hands, Dr. Shelton was wanted and needed
everywhere. When General Chao took over Tibet, he
136 SHELTON OF TIBET
decided to establish schools throughout the country,
abolishing the Tibetan customs, and establishing Chi-
nese everywhere. He believed in killing off the
Tibetan men and marrying the women to Chinese, so
that the next generation would be of the race of Han.
He imported cotton, started shoe and leather manu-
facturing, and made great strides toward making the
land of Tibet a province of China.
But he decided gold should be found. He had im-
ported some gardeners and farmers, the Chinese walk-
ing the long way over the mountains from the plains
of China. A few women, too, with small bound feet,
had made that long journey. Gold was needed in
order to bring an influx of Chinese, so a young Chi-
nese mining engineer, educated in America, came in
at the invitation of General Chao to discover gold. It
was not to be found in the Batang valley, a little lead
being all he could discover. The great General was
very angry, and threatened to take off the engineer's
head. He started for America post haste, and was
hidden by missionaries at every stop, so the "big man"
could not find him. He escaped with his life, and was
glad to get back again to his wife and baby in America.
The flora of Tibet has been barely touched by the
botanist, Wilson, near and around Tachienlu. He
gathered the seeds, and many of the plants were sent
to Kew Gardens in England. I think later he gathered
some for America, among them being rhododendrons
and primroses of the most exquisite variety. On the
mountains between Tachienlu and Batang grows what
the Chinese call "the grass-worm." This is a queer
anomaly, that looks like half worm and half grass. It
SOME NATURE STUDIES IN TIBET 137
is gathered, tied into bundles, dried, and eaten by the
people. Dr. Shelton happened to mention this in his
.article in the National Geographic Society Magazine
for September, 1921, and later the following letter
from Mr. Blackborn of the Royal Asiatic Society came
"Dear Dr. Shelton:
"One of our local members was very much interested
in reading your article on 'Life Among the People in
Eastern Tibet' in the September number of the Na-
tional Geographic Magazine, and see that you spoke of
the 'grass worm,' a seeming combination of animal
and vegetable life.
"He says in his letter to me : 'To me this is a matter
of great interest, and calls for something more than a
passing note in a magazine. Early in 1889 I was
traveling through New Zealand, and found myself at
a small hotel in the Thermol District. After dinner a
dish of caterpillars was put on the table, and we were
invited to eat; many were broken, but I picked out a
dozen sound ones for further investigation, and after
cautiously tasting some of the others, asked the land-
lord where they came from. He said the natives
brought them in from Mount Tarawere close by. The
next day I went and had the pleasure of digging up a
few; they we're from two to four inches long, were
soft, but quickly hardened to the consistency of a hazel
nut. In every case, growing from some part of the
caterpillar's body was a stem, from three to six inches
long, ending in a tuft like a bulrush. On reaching
Auckland, I commenced to search and found that it
was the Aweto caterpillar, and it was believed not to
exist in any other part of the world. The theory is
that the caterpillar, pursuing its course under ground,
comes in contact with the seed of the Rata, which
works into the caterpillar's body, thrives by its mois-
138 SHELTON OF TIBET
ture, and then dies, leaving the caterpillar a decided
member of the vegetable kingdom, although defunct.
I took my specimens to England, and distributed them
to various museums. Unfortunately, I have only one
specimen left, and that has the stem broken, but I shall
be pleased to show it to any one interested, and to
know if the note in the magazine is the only informa-
tion we possess as to this wonderful occurrence in
"I thought it might be interesting to try and ascer-
tain if the worm referred to by you is identical with
that referred to by my correspondent. Have you any
information on the subject in addition to that given in
your article? Perhaps it might be possible for you to
send us a specimen for our museum with any available
"With many apologies for troubling you, and abus-
ing your kindness,
(S) "A. D. BLACKBORN,
These worms seem to be rather smooth, with rings
or corrugations around them, this part being in the
ground. It seems that the grass sprouts from the head
of the insect and the roots seem to fill the body of the
worm. However, I am not a scientist, and this slight
information may be of little value except to a man
who, knowing these worms are found in Tibet, can go
there and give the information correctly to the world.
The Tibetans are classed by all wise scholars as
belonging to the yellow race, but they are not at all
like that race either in disposition, customs, or man-
ners. They somewhat resemble Mr. Pollard's descrip-
tion of the people in Nosu Land, who perhaps belong
SOME NATURE STUDIES IN TIBET 139
to the aboriginal race of China. It seems a probable
theory that, as nationalities spread from one continent
to another, they usually follow the lines of latitude in
their migrations. That is, people from the North of
Europe, as a rule, settle in the North of America, and
those from the southern part of Europe seek a milder
latitude in the same country. It seems to me possible
that the Aryan Race, perhaps from Persia, or the
Kurds with their black tents, might have gone toward
the east and settled on the mountains and plains of
Tibet. In their tents of black yak hair, their nomadic
life, and their personal characteristics they resemble
the Arabs much more than they do the Mongolians.
A full-blooded Tibetan looks like an Arab with his tall,
lithe "body, coarse black hair, small beard, light brown
skin (lighter when not exposed to wind and weather),
and dajk brown eyes that are almond shaped and not
slant. He rides a horse as if he were part of one, and
the customs of revenge and daily life are much like
those of the Arab. Hospitality is one of their char-
acteristics. They give the best they have to the
stranger within their gates, sometimes even to the loan
of a wife. A sheep or a goat is often killed upon the
arrival of a guest.
Rancid butter is one of the delicacies. This they
lay away in a prepared sheep's stomach, and keep as
long as possible. The older it is the better. I read
the other day of a tribe in India, along the Peshawar
River, which also kept butter stored and preferred it
to be nearly one hundred years old before using!
Polyandry is practiced, the daughter in a home
having from one to six husbands, who are usually
140 SHELTON OF TIBET
brothers. They usually seem very happy together, the
children calling the elder brother "father," and the
others "uncle." Although the Chinese custom of
having more than one wife has come in with them, we
rarely find a Tibetan with two wives. One of the
friends in Batang took a son-in-law for his two daugh-
ters, to keep the home intact. Another friend took a
bride for her two sons, but the elder son was very un-
happy, and went outside and got him a wife of his
own. By his so doing his connection with his ancestral
home was in a measure severed, and the other son
became the head of the house.
Throughout Oriental countries, custom is stronger
than law. Feuds are no small part of a Tibetan's life.
All the boys of one family and many of the other
boys who came to school said they had to revenge
someone of their line of family who had been killed
many years before. Remonstrating against such a
custom did no good, and reasoning was worse. It had
to be done ; it was the custom. They would say, "We
would be considered cowards, and scorned by every-
body, if we did not kill those who have at some time
or other killed some of our people." Their quarrels
were very bitter, and they usually handled a knife
quickly, and to the best advantage. Dr. Shelton was
often middleman in many of their quarrels. He would
say, "Why do you not speak the truth at once and
settle it, instead of talking for days and days and never
getting anywhere?" They would reply, "Oh, that is
the foreigners' way, but it is not our way; we have to
talk and talk and talk many days before our quarrels
can be settled."
SOME NATURE STUDIES IN TIBET
The customs of the ages oppose all progress, new
thinking, a new religion, cleanliness, or hygiene. They
have a saying that when a new religion comes in, their
own is doomed. It is the custom to be dirty ; therefore
why should they take a bath? They have always been
dirty, and therefore must continue to be dirty. Cus-
tom is law in the Orient, unwritten, but powerful just
A prophecy waiting to be fulfilled is that Tibet shall
be governed by thirteen Dalai Lamas, and the present
one is the thirteenth. The Governor of Kham often
fasted for the health of the Dalai Lama. It was for-
. bidden to fish and kill all animals while the fast lasted.
He could give his wife away and get a new one when
he liked, but he fasted just the same.
NOTE: Dr. Shelton was a member of the Royal Geographic
Society, of the Royal Asiatic Society, Doctor of Laws from
Gotner University, and an M.D. from the Louisville Medical
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP
DR. SHELTON'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PEOPLE. HIS
DIARY OF HIS TRIP TO SHANGCHEN
"If he eats too much, a tiger vtill
choke even on man's meat. If he Hies
too far, even the vulture will fall."
Dr. Shelton would not keep a diary. He always
said, "There is nothing to put in it." I have found
just two small ones, the one of the trip he took to
Shangchen, and the other while he was a captive among
the robbers. A great number of interesting expe-
riences, sad, laughable, or tragic, came to him as he
went in and out among the people. For the Tibetan
people he lived, and he was always ready, day or night,
to go and stay with them, doctor them, or help to
settle their quarrels. In one of his letters after he
got back, he wrote, "I would start for home in the
morning if it were not for these people we love so
His understanding sympathy with the people, which
they felt, made him very near them. Through cen-
turies of judging a man by instinct, the Tibetans have
developed a sort of sixth sense, and judge a man by
that. Their trust and faith is dog-like in its complete
and simple devotion to those to whom they choose to
DAILY RECORD OP ONE TRIP 143
give it. It takes years of love and service to awaken
a Tibetan's trust, and then he is not a transient friend,
but ready to serve to the uttermost. A Tibetan hates
to be laughed at as an object of sport, but a laugh in
the right place at the right time may sometimes work
The Doctor's teacher lost his six mules, and the
Chinese official who was in power at the time ordered
the lamasery to return them, as many of these lama-
series among the mountains are simply robber fast-
nesses. They returned four, but the official insisted
that they return the rest. So they were returned with
this message, "I sent four mules ; you should have been
satisfied. Now I shall pray to my god to kill you for
demanding the other two," and he very nearly suc-
ceeded. The teacher sat down to die. The Doctor
went to see him, and on examination could find noth-
ing the matter. He finally found out that the teacher
was expecting to die, that the family was expecting it
and waiting on him, seeing no way out of this diffi-
culty. The Doctor scolded, but it did no good. He
would say, "I must die; he is praying his god to kill
me ; there is no escape." Finally the Doctor made fun
of him, telling him he was no baby, and he knew that
his god had no power, and for him to get up and be-
have himself and he would soon be all right. Strange
to say, this had the desired effect. He arose, took a
bath in a hot spring, and came back to work.
NOTES ON TRIP TO SHANGCHEN
5 July. Leaving Batang at nine o'clock we came
steadily till twelve o'clock, when we stopped for dinner
144 SHELTON OF TIBET
in the place Ogden and I had picked for a summer
camp. Then after an hour's rest, from twelve o'clock
on to night we came steadily up all the way through
forests and many flowers. It started to rain, but only
a few drops fell. But as we came on higher, we found
that there had been snow and rather small hail, and
the ground was covered to the depth of an inch in
We put on all our clothes when we finally stopped,
at about 13,000 feet, for the night, pitching our tents
just at the last edge of the timber line. I slept under
two blankets and an eiderdown, and they did feel fine.
You would hardly believe that in so short a time you
could go from hot summer to winter temperature, but
we were so well pleased with our tents that we decided
to use them all the way.
6 July. This morning we were on the road by six
o'clock, still coming up a very gradual ascent, and
finally crossing the pass at nine-thirty. The scenery
surpasses anything I have ever seen in desolation, the
mountains rising for 5,000 feet of bare stone. But
a little down from the pass, the flowers again began to
appear, and during the whole afternoon the scenery
surpassed anything I ever saw in flowers, all colors.
I sat down and picked ten varieties without getting up.
Near the top of the pass, we killed a big duck.
Ogden is having the time of his life trying to preserve
We stopped to-night at Dongbudo, and our ula goes
back to-morrow. Bought a particolored bear skin, and
had one patient. Passed cattle and sheep ranch early
GENERAL LU, OF BATAXG, AND HIS TIBETAN AND
DR. SHELTON WAS EVER THE STUDENT.
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP
7 July. They told us this morning that it was only
a little way, so we did not stop for dinner, but found
that the Tibetans' "little ways" were about sixty or
seventy li. - [A li is about a third of a mile.]
Arrived at Yaragong. Th;e first thing Jamsen
bought was a dog's leg. Got dinner and put Gwa
Guang to cooking beans, and then went to see an old
woman seventy years old. She had fallen, on the
mountain and broken her thigh, running the bone clear
through, ten days ago, and when we found her such a
sight ! She was in a stable, setting up her thigh at an
angle of about thirty degrees. The bone was sticking
out, and was all swollen. And the smell!
All the misery these people suffer ! Then we went to
the lamasery, which will be described separately.
Suffice it to say, we find it of sufficient interest to stop
to-morrow for full inspection. Coming back had five
or six patients, and a lot of fun out of a rubber tube 1 a
thing the Tibetans had never seen before. Catholics
own much land and have seven families.
8 July. The Lamasery: (i) Idol room Buddha
gone. Bon Pictures. (2) Library 120 cases. Ce-
ment floors, 145 volumes. (3) Printing room hun-
dreds of printing blocks for books and wheel of life.
(4) Tanka room Idols and Tankas. (5) Dressing
room false faces, etc. (6) Lama's private room
beautiful. (7) Outer hall 150 paintings, half vile.
(8) Buddha hall 200 paintings, set in work most
After staying at the lamasery till one o'clock, came
back to camp and had a lot more patients. Then start
for Ditsagong, twenty li away. Then change ula after
146 SHELTON OF TIBET
supplying a woman with medicine. Then to Dotsa ten
li away. Arrived, and it took three hours. Got lost
on way. Arrived at nearly dark. Had no patients, but
people supplied grass and wood in plenty, for which
we paid them well. Ogden found his coolie had been
running needles in his horse's back.
9 July. Started about eight A. M., and changed ula
at Tsongtsa at ten-thirty. Had a climb for about an
hour. Had fifteen or twenty patients. They come
very freely. Fine country and has about one hundred
Coming on to Ringbu up branch of Donglando
River. Arrived at quarter past twelve, and stopped
for the night. Met by most of the population. Ringbu
has lamasery of three hundred lamas, which we are
going to see at about three o'clock. Waiting for
Went to lamasery and found Ho Tongsi and a few
other Batang people playing cards. We could not get
inside the big hall, because they said the lamas had
killed one of their own men, and some of them had
put all the things in the big hall, locked it, and left only
about three hundred idols.
The pusas we saw there were the thousand-handed
Chenezik. We found no obscene pictures here. Yel-
low sect. Coming back to tents they brought some
eggs, and the people brought enough grass for ten
horses. Also eggs. Doctored a few sick, among them
a deaf mute boy of ten. (Caused from fever when a
baby.) Had to give him a rupee, to let us syringe his
Rain and wind.
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP 147
Saturday, 10 July. Came up mountain for two
hours, then for an hour across a big plain till we got
to some black tents. Ate dinner in one. People fine.
I gave them all cards. Bought pound of butter. Then
for two hours went across wonderful big plateau.
Then down valley :o Dongdo. Fine valley, with nine
villages. Took bath and helped Ogden wash clothes.
Finest week I ever had travelling and making friends
with many, many people. Met Dayinguan's daugh-
ter, Omo, husband's name Atring. Mother in
Tachienlu. Niece of Lao Po Po at dispensary. Very
nice. Doctored several people, but they did not bring
much grass. Got twenty-three eggs. Two peoplie
blind from smallpox.
Ji July. Went to see patient before we started
from Dongdo. Got one rupee. Crossed two mountain
passes. Ate dinner at Daso River at Yaragong. Came
on to Rata. Send letter from here. Want us to stop
one day for ula. Will arrive Shangchen to-morrow.
Went swimming. First [Chinese] school no good.
12 July. Few more patients. Left at ten minutes
past eight. Killed five pigeons. Nothing of note. Ate
on top of mountain. Very little water. Fine valley
running into Shangchen. Several villages just below
road. Long hard day. Gwan [official] sent ten sol-
diers to guard tent after we declined to go to lamasery.
Rained hard at night.
75 July. Day in Shangchen. Call and return calls
of official. Ate supper with Fu [official]. He gave
me holy water vase. School. Can talk little Chinese.
Everything in lamasery. Ditch ten feet deep. Holes
148 SHELTON. OP TIBET
dug by Chinese to blow up lamasery. Forts all around,
with fine chorten in each.
14 July. Started from Shangchen at nine o'clock,
and had gone but about a mile when they suddenly
came to a halt and said we must change ula. Took
about half an hour, but after that it took only ten or
fifteen minutes, as they sent word on ahead. Had to
change eight times during the day. Fun with Gwa
Guang because a girl had to lead his horses. Doctored
people, who are friendly.
At two stopped along road. Also doctored a girl
and a man before starting. Finding some difficulty
with talk here, as pronunciation is different. Only
on this road have we seen arches with paintings of
Buddha on ceiling. About twelve or fifteen of them to-
day. Saw big chorten with hundreds of idols in one
place. When we stopped for the night, one woman
was awfully scared, and nearly cried. They all know
"La way ni" [thank you] on this road. After a
while I gave her baby a rupee and talked to her a little.
She said, "My, but I was scared when you came in."
The husband came about dark, and came in to talk
a while. I showed him my watch. He did not know
what it was, and was afraid to listen to it for a while.
Ogden and I ate about four catties [Chinese pound]
fish for supper. Fifteen villages in this one day's
journey, aggregating about three hundred families. Go
back to Shangchen to-morrow.
75 July. Came back over road went up yesterday.
Had lots of patients about twenty-five. If I should
come through here again, patients would be doubled.
Many came to-day who would not come yesterday.
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP 149
Three cataract patients who ought to come to Batang
to be operated on. Whether they will come or not
I do not know. They seem to have recovered from
the war very quickly here, for all along they are build-
ing new houses where old ones were burned. Sore
eyes and rheumatism prevailing trouble. Got invita-
tion to breakfast to-morrow morning with Lu DaRen
[Chinese official]. Tibetans will not come around
where Chinese are. Have had only three or four pa-
tients right here in Shangchen, but in the road where
we are alone, they come quite freely. Start for lower
16 July. Went to eat with Lu Da Ren at eight
A. M. Left at nine forty-five. Fine valley. Changed
ula at one o'clock. Then doctored eight patients.
Then had bad horses and got only about a mile farther
and came back to dinner place. People awfully scared
when we came back, and brought horses and begged
us to go on. May go on to-morrow. Found out
how hair is fixed. Plaited fifty-seven braids on one
side. Found use of hair ornaments. Boys and girls
ten years old perfectly naked. Sleeping to-night sur-
rounded by Buddhist hell and lords of the east, west,
north, and south heavens in lamasery. All kinds of
punishment in Buddhist hell for adultery and bad
carpenters. Woman in childbirth, blind snakebird and
cow swallowing each other in center. Thousand
handed and eyed pusa. One obscene, first since Yara-
17 July. Started out at a quarter past six, aiming
to go till noon and come back to Jara for the night.
Went about a mile and had to change ula. Went about
150 SHELTON OF TIBET
three or four miles farther and had to change again.
Decided to come back to Shangchen. Had great time
with ula at Jara. Couldn't get horses, and started to
walk. Finally had to ride a little way on rack of bones
to satisfy the Tibetans. Bought a bracelet and bowl.
F:ve of the Chinese ran off last night, and the men
hunting them came into the lamasery about two o'clock.
We did not know what was up to see so many men
coming into the lamasery. Got back to Shangchen
about night. Ting Da Ren [Chinese official] came and
stayed till bedtime. Quite an entertaining talker. Will
stay here to-morrow, Sunday, and start back Monday
by way of Romi. All headmen came. Gave us grass,
wood, and waer tang [brown sugar cakes]. Saw sev-
18 July, Went to take bath and found pond empty.
Came back by brass-smiths' to buy a go [iron pan],
and Ting Da Ren found us there. Just before going
to take bath, had dispensary and saw fifty-five patients.
Cut off two moles, opened abscesses, etc. Had dinner
with Ting Da Ren. Came back, saw thirteen more
sick. Opened big abscess on man's jaw. Biggest day's
dispensary work I ever did outside of operations. All
in all, a fine day, ending up by a fight between Jamsen
and Nossulun, cutting latter's head open and spraining
Jamsen's leg. Ula is coming and we will start on re-
turn trip, with all of most important medicines gone.
jp July. Left Shangchen at eight A. M. Dinner at
top of Madala at twelve. Rain nearly all day. Pooki
[bed] wet. Will sleep cold to-night, but full of potatoes
and pigeon, bread and butter, so does not matter. Old
Jamsen cries, and does not want to go to Batang.
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP 151
20 July. Left Rata about eight A. M. Came over
very bad, wet road. Raining all day. Population
scarce. Live in huts like Indians. Ran naked into
grass and trees when they saw us. Nothing of note
till we reached Rah Zhi in heavy rain. Didn't put
up our tents, but slept in small lamasery with Chen-
rizig looking down on us. Also pictures of obscene
idols. People scared for a while, but soon came for
medicine. I have my man announce as soon as we ar-
rive at a place that I will treat the sick if they will v
bring them. They are a little chary at first, but when
one or two have come, they go out, and it isn't long
before there are plenty. Treated about fifteen or twenty
at the feet of Chenrizig.
21 July. Left early this morning. Down Rata
River for two hours. Several small villages. Had
dinner at beginning of pass at ten o'clock. Not many
houses till we reach Guo Dup at two forty-five, which
is end of stage. People all locked doors and hid for
an hour or so till they found we did not do anything,
then gradually began to come. Five idiots here. Also
old lama I had treated in Batang brought some eggs.
Treated about ten persons. Say it will be windy in
morning. Two surgical cases for Batang. People
very kind and friendly just as soon as they find how
we treat them. We will have a royal reception if
we ever travel this road again. People not nearly so
well fixed as in Shangchen. This is first place in Rom'i.
Bought two chickens. Had a fine mess for supper,
chicken, dumplings, gravy and fried potatoes, with hot
biscuits and butter and cocoa.
22 July. I am getting awfully tired of keeping a
152 SHELTON OF TIBET
diary. Got up at eight o'clock, as it had rained all
night, and was still raining. Finally got off at nine
in the rain, and had to change ula six times during the
day. Very fine valley. Nearly all day in Daso River
valley. Met a lot of people I knew. Had to drink
a lot of "butter tea." Most of the people never saw
foreigners. Some ran and hid in a ditch. Stopping
in lamasery again to-night, as our ula did not get in
till after dark. Still twelve days to Batang. (Found
the old Pusa again to-night.) Zioo is a fine valley
full of villages and extra rank crops. Saw first rice
to-day at Drong. Bought charm box from lama to-
day for twelve rupees. Pooki [bed] soaked again by
23 July. Raining again. Finally left Zioo lama-
sery at half past eight. Ula had not all come. They
were rushing great preparations, for the fast begins
to-morrow, and for two days they eat nothing. One
hundred people were to come to-day, and they were
making about fifty gallons of tea and cooking one hun-
dred goqua [Chinese bread] of one catty each. Each
man was to eat one to-day in preparation for fast to-
morrow. Arrived at Anyuda at twelve, and did not
want to stay, but had to for ula. One man came with
bad tooth. Finally got him to let me pull it. Then
three more came. First tooth cases I have had, and
to-night came a mother with double cataract. Blind
for three years. Says she will come to Batang. Asked
if she could bring her baby of ten months. Hope she
will come. Just now, as ready to go to bed, another
woman came, sick for three years. Gave her a note
DAILY RECORD OF ONE TRIP 153
24. July. Started early. Ate dinner at head of val-
ley. No population. See mountains over by Adensi.
Came to Yangtse valley. Hard road down. People
very nice. Sleeping in hla kong [idol room] again.
Long, long day. Tired to death. Saturday night, but
too tired to bathe. Few sick, doctored. Bees every-
where. Eighteen swarms in one cliff.
25 July. Sunday. Lot more patients before break-
fast. Came right up Yangtse River all day. About
half a mile away and two thousand feet up. Zioo
at ten o'clock. No one in sight for about half an hour,
then a few came. At end of an hour was having
patients as fast as I could attend to them. About
thirty came. Very hot all day. Candles would bend
like wax to-night. Arrived at Bong Chin at two thirty.
Aki Putso met us. He is head man here. Says forty-
eight families have to give fifteen hundred ka of barley
tax this year. How they do it I do not know. Yangtse
valley awfully broken. Took bath and shaved to-night.
Goto Tsongtsa to-morrow.
26 July. Very eventful day here. Aki Putso stayed
all night at the place so as to see us off. Held a clinic
for about twenty-five people before starting. Got to
the top of the mountain at eleven. Could see all over
the country. Stopped at black tents for dinner. Old
man wanted tooth pulled. Although we waited till
two o'clock our loads had not come, so could not pull
it. Very steep descent. Rained hard and on arriving
at Tsongtsa at four o'clock everybody was drunk. A
sort of feast-day. Finally put us in temple. Purely
Buddhist. Our loads did not come till half past seven.
Got supper and am going to bed. Rained hard.
154s SHELTON OF TIBET
27 July. Twenty patients this morning. One with
syphilis in sixth month with child. Finally got off
at half past eight. Ula hard to get. Our loads could
not keep up. Terrible bridges and bad road. Right
down Mo Chii till three o'clock when we arrived at
Yitti Gong. Found remains of Dayinguan's and Iryin-
guan's mules. Only twenty left of fifty. An old man
is taking care of them for Chao Er Feng. Says Li-
tang's have all died. Three patients there. Rested two
hours. Changed ula and came on to stopping place.
Ula did not get in till after dark, but we had our food.
Ate two cans oysters, one can pork and beans, one
half gallon of milk, and we are ready to go to bed.
Bought old Dick to-day.
28 July. Rode old Dick to-day. Hard climb to be-
gin with, then an awful steep come down. Ogden for-
got his pistol at first place. Change ula. Up Yangtse
all day after first hour over the mountain. Arrived
at Andano at eleven thirty. Ogden sent man back after
pistol, but has not got in yet to-night. Ate dinner and
then had clinic. About thirty people. Three more
cataracts. Fine clinic. Bought three sheep-skins. Came
on to Tsongtsa. Staying in temple again. First idol
not sitting cross-legged. Had peaches for the first
time. Old Jamsen says he is going to thrash Nossulun
when his leg gets well again. Five more days to
29 July. Treated few patients this morning at
Tsongtsa. Came on to Namgo after changing ula
twice. Gezong Hlashi's home. They treated us
royally, giving us two chickens, about thirty eggs, lot
of pepper, and five squashes. We took only pepper
DAILY RECORD OP ONE TRIP 155
and squashes, but they also brought the eggs to the
next place, so we had to take them. The men had a
fine mess to-night. We are living off the country
now, as all our stores are gone. Bought rupee's worth
of peaches on starting from Tsongtsa. This morning
acetanilid all gone. Salol soap, cathartic, vaseline,
boric acid, eye salve, dusting power in fact, all things
I need most are all gone, but cannot keep them. Never
expected one tenth of the patients I "have had all this
trip. The horses are tired and footsore, and we are
tired, too. Thirty days' trip is a little too long. Two
weeks to three weeks is about right.
jo July. Watched people have night meal last
night, and stayed till bedtime. Left this morning, go-
ing over bad roads till ten. Stopped one hour to let
horses eat. Changed ula at two o'clock, and had din-
ner. Had pigeon for supper. Man with cancer of
stomach. Bought short Tibetan gun for fifteen rupees.
Jamsen and soldiers rode Yak to-day. I rode a litter.
Giving quinine for everything. All other medicine
about gone. Just a little cough medicine and calomel
left. Threshing here. Twenty-six ka of unhulled
barley for one rupee.
51 July. Down very steep road this morning to
Yangtse. Awfully hot. Three or four patients this
morning before leaving. Soldier lost his bowl. Awful
road up river. Dangerous. Hoped to stop at Tze to-
night, but it is away up in the mountain, so camped at
riverside and ula came down. All our eatables gone.
Stop at Leh to-morrow night. Bathed in Yangtse this
j August. Very poor country all day. Few fam-
156 SHELTON OF TIBET
ilies at Drubalong and below at Tubulong. Two men
carried skin boots up to Leh. Stopped two hours for
dinner. Awfully hot. Met Guzong Ong Dti about
three o'clock going to Jii to buy rice. Told Jamsen
he was not coming on account of trouble at home.
Stopped at Leh. (Kam Dro's wife sent mother and
brother. Said Li Si was dead. Atsi and girl and
Drashi's wife were dead. ) Home to-morrow.
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY
STORIES OF VARIOUS PATIENTS. THE DOCTOR IS PRESENT
AT THE TRIAL OF A LAWSUIT
"If you haven't eaten the sour, you
do not appreciate the sweet; if you
haven't suffered, you do not appreciate
freedom from pain."
The following little sketches, like some of the stories
in Chapter IX, tell of incidents that happened daily ; not
all like these, but all just as pitiful and just as needy.
Life in Tibet is precarious at best, and for the babies
it is a survival of the fittest, and only the strongest,
huskiest little ones have any chance at all. The Doctor
had been used to seeing given to babies all the love and
care that kind hearts could give, and it broke his heart
to see the little ones filthy, covered with vermin, and
sick unto death from many preventable causes. They
were born in filth, and given no more attention than
to be greased with butter and laid out in the sun.
One day the Doctor was busy in the dispensary when
a woman came in with her baby in her arms and said :
"Will you please give me some medicine for my baby's
hand? I have put hot butter on it, I have wrapped
it in cow dung, and I have done everything I know
158 SHELTON OF TIBET
how to do, but it will not get well no matter what I
do for it." "Let me see the baby's hand," he said.
The mother unwrapped a filthy rag from around
the baby's arm, and showed the hand gone at the wrist
and the two bones of the forearm sticking out about
an inch past the retracted flesh. After doing the nec-
essary slight operation of cutting the bones off below
the level of the flesh, he asked, "How in the world
did a baby no older than this it cannot be more than
six months old get its hand off?"
"Well," replied the woman, "I was digging in my
garden one day, and had left the baby lying by the
door on the ground. I heard her crying, but thought
nothing of it, but when I went to the house I found
the pig had eaten her hand off."
We used our old clothes and the clothes of our two
little girls to make garments for the naked little ones,
who suffered keenly when winter came on. The Doc-
tor used to take some of these made-over clothes on
his daily afternoon trips to the villages, where he doc-
tored the people free of charge. He had several of
these villages to which he went, usually going to each
one afternoon a week.
One morning when he was to go down the river, he
said, "I want some baby clothes to-day."
"For how big a baby?" we asked.
"About three years old," he replied.
He tied them on his saddle and after his morn-
ing's work was done for his forty or fifty patients at
the dispensary, he started off on his mule for his work
in the village. Now, he always stayed with a certain
family in that village, and the other villagers who
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 159
needed medicine always came there to find him every
Tuesday afternoon. This family consisted of a grand-
father and grandmother, their daughter, her husband
and a little grandchild, a bright little fellow of about
three years, for whom he was taking the clothes. He
tied his mule, went in, climbed the stairs, and was
greeted by the grandfather, who made him welcome,
gave him a seat on a goat-skin on the floor in front
of the fire, and got him some tea.
The Doctor looked around for the little boy, who
usually came up to feel in his pockets, and not seeing
him, looked up at the grandfather, who appeared rather
melancholy, and asked, "Where is little Tseden?"
"Oh, we threw him into the river just before you
"What in the world do you mean?" cried the Doctor,
jumping up, for he loved the little fellow.
"Oh," he sobbed, "he fell downstairs this morning
and killed himself."
"Where is his mother?"
"She went up on the mountain for a load of wood."
These people do not have time to nurse their sor-
rows, but must keep going if they would have anything
Doctor sat there, realizing the hard lot of these
primitive people. The mother came in, with a heavy
load of wood on her back. She dropped it on the floor,
and tried to smile, for the Tibetans hate to show emo-
tion. He knew what was in her heart, and rising
from the floor, put his hand on her shoulder, and
said, "Do not worry about little Tseden."
At the first touch of kindness, the first word of
160 SHELTON OF TIBET
sympathy, she broke down and cried as if her heart
would break. They love their babies as well as we
do, in spite of the cruel customs which sometimes make
us think differently of them.
We made over all the clothes for the little folks
during the summer, and put them in a large box at
the head of the stairs, against the time of cold weather,
and our own little girl about five years old delegated
to herself and little sister, aged three, the task of giv-
ing these clothes to the little naked babies when the
cold came. Late one November day, the wind was
cold and cutting when a woman came into the yard
downstairs, where the older of the two little girls
was pla3 r ing, sheltered behind the high stone wall, and
opening her large sheepskin gown, drew out a little
fellow about a year old without a stitch of clothes on
The five-year-old looked him over and asked her"
mother, "Haven't you got any clothes for him at all?"
"None at all, and he is awfully cold. I have to keep
him in here to keep him warm."
The five-year-old went upstairs and straight to the
box in which the clothes to be given away were kept,
and raising the lid, found it empty. She stood looking
at it for a while, not seeming to comprehend, for this
was the first time she had found this condition. Then
she went into the kitchen to her mother.
"Mamma, there is a little baby downstairs, and he
hasn't a thing on, and there aren't any clothes in the
"Well, Baby," replied the mother, "you and little
sister haven't a thing but what you must have for this
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 161
winter. We have given away everything we can this
She went back downstairs and looked the baby all
over again, and asked the mother a second time,
"Haven't you anything at all ? Haven't you a goat-
skin you could make him a coat of?"
When the mother said she had not, the five-year-old
studied a little while, then came inside the door, pulled
up her own clothes, and began taking an invoice. She
finally got hold of a little shirt, and, coming upstairs
with her clothes held high and with a tight Hold on
the little shirt, she went to her mother and, looking
up pleadingly, said, "Mamma, this is pert near worn
out." The mother took it off and let her give it to the
As the days came and went, and the people got to
know the Doctor better, and came to know that he
would not, as the grown-ups had at first told their
children, "cut their livers out and make medicine of
them," they brought their sick to him more and more.
The winter had been long, and the snow had been
deep in the passes, and the consequent suffering from
frost-bite had been great. Many minor operations of
cutting off fingers and toes had been done. As the
snow went out of the passes, and people could travel,
the cases that had been neglected began to come in.
It was thus that one afternoon four men came into
the dispensary, and sticking out their tongues in their
politest salutation, and bowing profoundly, asked the
"Is this the great man?"
162 SHELTON OF TIBET
"I am the doctor," he replied, also bowing graciously.
"What can I do for you?"
"We have a friend outside. Won't you fix him ?"
"Bring him in and we will see."
They went out and came in, bringing a man with
sunken eyes and emaciated form. His legs had been
frozen up to the knees. The flesh had all dropped off,
leaving the bare bones. The feet had dried, and looked
like a pair of old rubbers, and at the knees were great
festering masses. They set him down on the floor
and, bowing again, said, "We would like to have you
make the meat grow back on these bones."
"I can't do that. The only thing I can do is to cut
"But he could not walk with his legs off."
They talked long, and the Doctor finally persuaded
them that that was the only thing he could do. He
fed the man up for a few days. He was starving, too,
and then one day the Doctor cut one leg off and the
next day the other, for the man was too weak to stand
both operations in one day.
Now, when the Doctor operated here, he could not
take his patient into a private room and do what was
necessary, for the people on the outside would be-
come suspicious right away, and would say to each
other, "You see! I expect he is doing something to
that fellow now. Maybe he is cutting his liver out
to make medicine out of it."
So when the Doctor did his operations, he did them
in public and let everyone see them who wanted to
come. When he went to operate on this man, he had
perhaps fifty people crowding around, watching his
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 163
every move, bound to see what he was going to do.
Of course they had never seen chloroform, and when
the Doctor started giving it, he pinched the man every
few minutes to see whether or not he was getting un-
der the influence of it. Every time he did this, the
man would flinch until finally, when he was entirely
under and ready for the operation to begin, no matter
how hard he would pinch, the man would not budge.
One fellow looking on and almost breathless from
interest, exclaimed, "I guess he is dead now all right."
"Oh, no, he is not dead," said another, who was
watching more closely. "He is still breathing."
The Doctor went on with his work. A good many
of the women ran when he began to saw, but most
of them stayed to see it through. Just as soon as
possible, the chloroform was stopped, because the man
was terribly weak, and came very near dying on the
table. Then the Doctor did the bandaging and dress-
ing afterward, so that by the time he was through,
the fumes had gone out of the man's brain, and he was
ready to wake up. He just tickled him a little, the
man opened his eyes and looked around, and asked
one of his friends, "Why don't you hurry up and cut
"Why," said his friend, "it is already off."
But he would not believe till the stump was raised
so that he could see the bandaged end.
A little later the Doctor heard one of the men who
had looked on telling another about it. He said:
"Yes, sir, I was right there. I saw the whole thing
from beginning to end. When he started in, he just
poured a little medicine on a rag, then he let the fel-
164 SHELTON OF TIBET
low smell, and as soon as he was asleep, the doctor
took a saw and sawed his leg right off. Then he just
tickled him a little bit in the ribs, and that is all there
was to it."
These things made a great reputation for the Doc-
tor, and people came from far and near. Now, it is
a good thing to have a good reputation if you can
do people good and be a blessing to them, but the Doc-
tor's reputation got altogether too big. It outgrew
his ability by a great deal, and the very next serious
thing that came along almost ruined him, for the man
was a leper. Of course he could do nothing for him,
and told them so.
"Why, of course you can/' said his friends. "You
cut that man's legs off, and you have done many other
hard things, but there is nothing much the matter
with this man. He has just got a few sores on him.
He's easy. Of course you can cure him."
"There never has been anyone on earth who could
cure a leper but Jesus," he told them.
"Who was he?"
And he did his best to explain to them who and
what Jesus was, and what he could do for them now,
but they did not believe a word of it. They went
away and reasoned among themselves thus:
"Yes, we see now! This fellow has his reputation
up and knows very well that we know he can do it.
Heretofore he has not charged for curing these poor
people, but he has his reputation up now, and is going
to stick it to us. We will have to pay now all right."
They brought the man back, and it made the Doctor
sick as he saw them coming, for he knew he could do
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 165
nothing for the poor fellow. The leper came up and
got down on his knees before him. "Get up from
there," the Doctor said sharply, to hide his emotion,
and taking hold of the man's arm said, "We do not
allow anyone to get down on their knees to us. Be-
fore God, one man is no more and no less than another,
whether he is a beggar or leper or no matter who he is."
But the man would not get up, and looking up at
the Doctor with the most pitiful face he had ever
seen, and with tears running down his cheeks, begged
the Doctor to cure him. He said, "I am a poor man.
I make about seven cents a day, but by being strictly
economical I believe I can live on three cents, and I
will give you the other four as long as I live if you
will only cure me." The Doctor cried, too, and per-
haps the hardest thing he ever had to do was to tell
the poor fellow he could do nothing for him. But the
hardest part of it for him was to have the man believe
it was because he could not give him a big fee.
When he could be a blessing to the people and do
them good, he was happy. He had a good time, and
his work was a joy, but when human power was
limited, when a mother would come to him with a
baby in her arms that was dying, and get down on
her knees and plead, believing that he had the power of
life and death right in his hand and would not use
it because she did not have a big fee, it made his heart
ache. These were the things that hurt. And yet, these
failures were absolutely necessary to make these people
know that he was simply their brother man, that he
had no supernatural power, and that what he could ^ do
166 SHELTON OF TIBET
lie would do because he loved them, and not because
he expected any large fee.
"What in the world did this?" asked the Doctor one
day as a man came groaning into the dispensary, helped
along by two other men. They laid the man face down-
ward on the floor, showing his mutilated thighs.
"Why, he got spanked yesterday," replied his com-
The Doctor attended to the man, and the following
afternoon had the opportunity of seeing his first spank-
ing in a yamen.
The official or mayor of the place had some trifling
ailment, and had sent for him to come and see him.
He went, and as they sat talking, some of the official's
-underlings or soldiers came in with a man they had
The "Big Man," as the official is called, turned to
the Doctor, and asked, "Will you please excuse me
for a few minutes till I try this case?"
"Surely," said the Doctor, "go ahead. Glad of the
opportunity to see a trial."
Now the "Big Man" is mayor not only of the town,
but of the whole county as well, and is grand jury,
jury, prosecuting attorney, judge, sheriff, and other
arms of the law in one, and justice is meted out
at short notice when the offender is caught.
After excusing himself to the Doctor, the mayor
climbed up on the raised platform where he sat to
transact business, the accused man, with the witness
kneeling in front on the floor, while the soldiers ar-
ranged themselves on either side.
PICTURES FROM THE DISPENSARY 167
"Now, what is the trouble here?" asked the mayor
"This fellow broke my donkey's leg," replied one
of the witnesses.
"Yes, but his old donkey was in my wheat and
tramping it all down," retorted the defendant.
"Here, here ! One at a time now," commanded the
judge. "You go on. Let's hear your side," indicat-
ing the complaining owner of the donkey.
"Well, my donkey got out this morning and I could
not find him. I went hunting for him and finally I
found him coming home on three legs, the other one
broken. Then Lozong came over and we fought. I
pounded him up with a rock as he had hit my donkey
with a rock."
The sentence pronounced was that the man should
pay for the donkey, and the other for the damage done
to the fields and the doctor bill. In case the hurt man
died, his life should pay the price. Happily, he did
not die, and the affair was peaceably settled.
It is truly in the time of Abraham in those moun-
tains, and who knows but among them, as they are the
"dwellers who live in tents," are not those of the line
of Jacob !
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS
RELATIONS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES. RELIGIOUS
FESTIVALS AND CUSTOMS
"A first-class man dies on the top of
the pass, his armor all on, he is eaten
by vultures and received by gods and
goddesses. His own heart leads the
way. The second-class man dies m his
bed, surrounded by friends and relatives,
his body is burned and he is received by
lamas and his spirit led to happiness.
The third-class man dies at home in the
street, his mouth -filled with dust, and he
is eaten by dogs, led into the other life
by a crow, and lives m endless misery."
Tibet the unknown, fascinating because unknown;
Tibet the unexplored, the goal of travelers and mis-
sionaries for a hundred years; Tibet in isolation be-
cause kept so. Tibet, of the "barbarous shepherds,"
conquered China at one time, forcing a most humiliat-
ing peace upon that country, and the king demanded a
Chinese princess for his wife, and got her. The
Tibetans give this in their historical plays, setting forth
the choosing of the bride from among the court women,
and how they tried to fool the king's messengers by
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 169
the painted women of the court ; but he was not to be
hoaxed. He chose the pretty, modest, little princess
to be the wife of the king, but she was loath to go
to a strange land and be a wife to so wild a thing
as the King of Tibet. She took more than two years
for the journey, but finally arrived, and from that time
forth the king wore silks and brocades instead of felt
Under this same king came the scholars and priests
from India. The alphabet was made from the San-
skrit, and no Japanese or Chinese scholar, however
proficient in those languages, will be able to read any
word of Tibetan scriptures, for all books are written in
the Tibetan language, which is a modification of the
Tibet, as naturally located, is difficult of approach:
surrounded on the south by great mountain chains
of the highest mountains in the world, and border-
ing for a thousand miles on English possessions on
the south, while at the north are the great northern
plains, high and cold and barren, and very difficult
for travelers to traverse. By her position she is a
good buffer state. She is not wealthy at present, be-
cause absolutely undeveloped. Nobody wants to bother
with her, consequently China, with her caravans going
back and forth for some two hundred years, and by
right of conquest, held the suzerainty, with the chief
Amban at Lassa. Nominally, she has had the con-
trol of Tibet as far as other nations are concerned,
but really has governed only when the Tibetans chose
to be governed. Tibet has not been allowed to develop
or grow because of the cupidity of the nations sur-
170 SHELTON OF TIBET
rounding her. She lies, a convenient football, between
Russia, China, and India.
Tibet is fourteen hundred miles from east to west
and 'nine hundred and fifty miles from north to south,
a great part of the country averaging fifteen thousand
feet in altitude. Access into Tibet can be gained only
by travel over mountain passes which, were they well
guarded, would hold the land. The Moravian mission-
aries, who have done some of the finest Tibetan trans-
lation work, have camped on the western border for
more than sixty years, awaiting permission to go into
the interior. During the World War, they were all
deported. On the southern side of Tibet, around and
in Darjeeling, are the Scotch missions; on the north-
east the Christian and Missionary Alliance, while on
the east are the China Inland Mission, and the Disci-
ples, all working around the edges hoping and praying
that some day permission will be given to enter.
Tibet is kept sealed for diplomatic reasons. True
education and religion are kept from these people and
the customs of interest and the natural resources that
might be of great benefit to the world are kept hidden.
China opened the door on the eastern side and gave the
opportunity. Doctor Shelton saw it and took it. Is
the door closed again? May the door be opened,
and the Christian people of the world demand that to
the people of Tibet be given their birthright of truth
and education and Christianity?
In the diplomatic juggling of nations, a Russian
went to Lassa and persuaded the Dalai Lama that he
should make friends with the ruler of Russia. But
the government on the south awakened to the fact that
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 171
something was not just right and that Russia must be
scared away. Hence, Colonel Younghusband's expedi-
tion to Lassa. The Tibetans were poorly armed and
were protected mainly by the charms which the priests
had given them, telling them that they would be a de-
fense against the English bullets. The Tibetans were
no match for the well-trained army and so were badly
defeated. When the priests were asked what was the
matter that so many were killed, they said their charms
protected only against leaden bullets, and that there
was nickel in the English bullets. Nevertheless, the
military commanders paid a fair price for what they
got, doctored the wounded, and sent the prisoners away,
which was a new way of teaching by showing mercy
in a military campaign. Before that, any prisoners
captured by the Chinese were tortured ; and to be cap-
tured by the Tibetans meant the same fate.
In the last rebellion, all Chinese captured by the
Tibetans were sent out through Lassa and none were
tortured. The Galbn Lama was thus keeping his
promise made to Dr. Shelton after he had seen him
operating on the wounded. As he left, the Doctor took
his hand, and said, "We can work together for the
good of our fellow men, can we not?" and he replied,
"I can promise that."
Just who governs Tibet has been rather a doubt-
ful question for sbme years. Just before the Chinese
Government allowed us to go in, General Chao Er
Feng, with a victorious army, had brought the country
as far as Chiamdo under Chinese control. His plans
were very fine, and he was very efficient. He expected
to make that section a part of China, in fact. To-day
172 SHELTON OF TIBET
the Tibetans say that if Chao Er Feng were here,
this late trouble would not have happened. He built
roads, he established schools, and controlled the coun-
try so that travel on any road was comparatively safe.
He was just as severe with his own men as with the
Tibetans, and when he said, "Don't loot," and looting
was done, he lined the guilty ones up, and off came
their heads. Sometimes his badly needed soldiers were
slain wholesale for disobedience. Thirteen were killed
at one time for one offense, but he governed.
During the fighting with the Chinese, the Tibetans
were trapped in all sorts of ways sometimes by their
own countrymen who, to curry favor with the Chinese,
brought them in to be beheaded. Heads fell every
day, and so many bodies lay in the streets of Batang
that at times the dogs feasted. No one dared touch
or bury them, for fear they would be considered friends
of the dead and in turn suffer the death penalty.
Shortly after we had arrived at Batang, the Doctor
had twenty patients at one time who were trying to
break off the opium habit. Every day he took them
out for a walk, and as he sat and talked with them
on the bluff overlooking the city, they told him of those
fights and sieges, and how they ate the hearts and
livers of their enemies that they, too, might be brave.
General Chao took away all the big swords and the
guns from the Tibetans, allowing them to carry only
a small knife. His policy was to keep them unarmed
and to tax them so heavily that they would have barely
enough to keep them alive, so that they would have no
strength to rebel again.
When the Chinese took the city, the Dayinguan
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 173
was killed at once, and his widow taken prisoner. The
Iryinguan 1 and his whole family were taken to
Chentu as prisoners of war, where they all died but
one young prince, who returned to Batang an opium
sot and a wine drinker. More of his story will come
As we were on the road coming into Batang, we
met a man carried in a wooden cage like a tiger. We
never discovered who he was, but he was being taken
as a prisoner to the capital.
Cruelty was matched with cruelty. The Chinese
would capture a prisoner, put him in cold water in an
immense tea caldron, and boil him. Another they
would pull into four quarters by hitching yak to the
arms and the legs. To others they would bring slow
death by slicing off a small part of the body at a time
until the heart was reached and life ended.
The Tibetans, riding along beside the Doctor, would
tell him what they likewise did to the Chinese. Mutila-
tions of every kind and description were practiced.
There was much of this, as their punishments even
in times of peace are rather severe. For stealing a
man may have one arm or one hand and one foot cut
off. For some crime the eyelids will be cut off, and
perhaps for another, both tendons of the heels may
be cut. But they rather prefer to sew a Chinaman in
a new yak skin, and lay him out on the mountain to dry.
However, after the strong hand of Chao was re-
moved and the republic was in force, the officials sent
in could not govern, and more and still more the
l Dayinguan was the chief ruler at Batang, and Iryinguan was
second in command.
174 SHELTON OF TIBET
Tibetans gained the upper hand. During the war,
when China was changed to a republic, General Chao
was in Chentu. He was called "Chao the butcher,"
because he killed so many men. Even his own mother
condemned him, and his followers hated .him, so that
he was captured and beheaded by his own men during
A queer tale came to us at the time the President-
Emperor or the Emperor-President died. We were
never able to find out if it were true. It was said that
Yuan Shih Kai did not die a natural death, but was
forced because of his usurpation of power to kill him-
self by breathing gold. Had he been a poor man or a
lesser official, he could have taken opium. This re-
calls the story of the Shape of Tibet, one of the offi-
cials directly under the high priest's commands. When
the last rebellion occurred, the Tibetans were better
armed than the Chinese, and so won out, sending every
Chinese and all prisoners out through Lassa, although,
as has been said, they tortured none. When complaint
came from the Chinese that the Tibetans were armed
with modern guns, the Dalai Lama asked the Shape
where the arms came from, and blamed him for the
affair. China had asked England how the modern
rifles got into Tibet, and where they came from, when
the Tibetans were not supposed to have any. China
in turn blamed the Dalai Lama, who shifted the re-
sponsibility by laying it on the shoulders of the Shape.
The latter then committed suicide, too, by taking gold,
though he knew the guns could not have come into
Tibet except by an order from the Dalai Lama, as no
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 175
law is made without his seal, and nothing done with-
out his sanction.
When the republic of China hung in the balance,
all the young men in Batang who had cut their hair
short now decided to let it grow, and it grew down
about their ears in bobbed style. When asked why,
they would say, "Well, if China is still a republic, we
can say we haven't cut our hair for some time, and
if it turns into a monarchy, we will say we are letting
As the Tibetan power grew little by little in Batang,
those who had been wearing Chinese clothes put on
the Tibetan garments and called themselves Tibetans.
Most were half-caste, and one language was as easy
as the other, and the garments also. Of course there
were full-blooded Chinese who would not don a Tibetan
gown, and full-blooded Tibetans who would scorn to
put on a Chinese garment. They say that a half-caste
has the tongue of a Tibetan and the heart of a China-
man, and that is something of a character, as a Tibetan
is descended, according to their legends, from an ape
and a demon, and a Chinese is not to be equaled in
As they felt their power increase, the Tibetans be-
gan to bring out their good gowns and their silver
and gold ornaments, which they had kept hidden from
the Chinese soldiers, who had been in the habit of
taking what they pleased. The lamas dug up their
silver vessels, that they had had buried somewhere on
the mountains, and sold them to buy back the land
that had been taken away from them by the Chinese
and sold to whoever would buy. The lamas owned
176 SHELTON OF TIBET
nearly all the land, the people borrowing money and
grain and keeping always in debt to them, so that they
are practically poor tenants of the priests. The Chinese
had destroyed the big lamasery at Batang before wa
came in, taking all that was worth while that the priests
had left and could not carry away with them. Their
books were scattered everywhere. They were loaded
on donkeys and sent here and there. Some of the
things were sold in the city. Dr. Shelton bought some
of these books, which, along with many other Tibetan
things, are in the Museum in Newark, New Jersey.
In the early days, the lamas exercised much power.
Below the lamasery was a steep cliff, and over this
into the river was thrown any Chinese who did not
behave according to Tibetan orders. The Catholics,
too, had their share of martyrs. The Catholic fathers
were killed, and their followers tied hand and foot,
pitched into the roaring river, and shot at by the
Tibetans from the banks, as the bodies tumbled down
the mountain stream, striking the rocks and bowlders.
It was the fall festival time, and for the first time
in many years the Tibetans were going to keep it as
they used to, without fear from the Chinese soldiers.
Dresses in all colors of the rainbow, silver chains and
bangles, gold ear-rings and bracelets were donned, and
tents and food for ten days were in preparation. The
whole town moved out on the banks of the little
stream to have a good time, leaving an old servant
to guard the door at home in the city. The central
tent was for their plays, usually historical. Some of
their stories would be of a priest and his wonderful
powers, or of a ruler in former times, or the story of
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 177
the stealing of the Chinese princess to be the wife of
On the last day was the festival dance of the Deer's
daughter, and there were wives or husbands or sons
or daughters to represent each of the leading homes
in the city in a stately dance around the center pole.
No woman of light character was allowed in that
dance, and when one attempted to enter she was taken
by the shoulders, shaken well, and forced from the
ring. None but the best dared to give that dance. The
songs were of thanksgiving for their homes and the
big* harvest, and a plea to the gods to send an abundance
for the next year.
A little later came the New Year celebration, which
is altogether religious, the priests and acolytes per-
forming, and no woman daring to intrude. No woman
is allowed in the Tibetans' holy of holies. On the com-
pound of the lamasery no female is allowed. Even the
chickens are all roosters ! I do not know just how they
manage to have their butter for their tea on that kind
of a proposition.
The men of the mission were invited in, and saw
the worship and heard the music, which is very weird,
the drums and the horns and thigh-bone trumpets mak-
ing music eminently fitting the country, the people,
and the religion, such as is heard no place else in the
world. The sound rolls and rolls, and among the
mountains it seems as if all their gods had united to
make that peculiar continuous sound.
The dances which are given at New Year's time are
as weird as the music. It does not seem quite right
to call them devil dances, as most eminent writers do*
178 SHELTON OF TIBET
The great papier mache heads, which the lamas don,
are made to resemble deer and pigs and many other ani-
mals, as well as the hideous demons, pictured with a man
whom they are eating held between their great teeth.
They dance and whirl to the music, and act the stories
of the marvelous things these demons and gods might
do. They believe that some of these demons and
gods are always found on the passes or on the lonely
forest roads, and that there is a great spirit on each of
the seven hills which surround Batang which rule the
land and must be placated for the benefit of the crops.
At one time, when the Doctor was traveling with
the teacher, it got dark before they reached the vil-
lage, and the Tibetans were leading the horses. The
teacher was very much frightened as a woman stepped
to his horse and took hold of the bridle. He said,
"Stop, stop right there until I see what you are," and
when, by the light of a pitch-pine torch, he saw it
was only a woman, he told the Doctor he thought it
was the pig-headed goddess, and he meant to kill her if
he could before she took him away.
The Tibetans' gods do not seem to be so many, but
in their states of anger or revenge they take the form
of these great blue and green and black demons,
whereas in a state of peace they are more beautiful.
The people say it is not worth while to worship a
good god, because he would not hurt you anyway,
but an evil one must be placated. Their dancing is a
worship and a means of showing honor to their gods,
in order to induce them to bless and be kind to them
during the ensuing year, and as one hears the solemn
notes of the big horns and the monotonous beat of the
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 179
drums, one can well imagine the gods are listening on
the mountain tops.
They have some dancing, or rather whirling, by the
young priests in training, and it is a great honor to
the home from which the young priest comes to be
allowed to take part in these yearly dances. The crowds
of people chant sometimes, and from the lamasery door
will come groups of priests in their queer dresses and
bone aprons to take their part in the entertainment.
Perhaps it will be boys painted to represent a skeleton,
with long finger nails. They circle and whirl and
crack these nails on the ground, while the children
whisper, "Handre," which means "ghost," as nearly as
can be discovered.
The priests forecast all events, if you so desire, and
cast lots as to what shall be done in every case. They
tell of lucky and unlucky days for travel or marriage.
When a man dies, they say into what form of life he
is to be reborn, or cast a horoscope for a life. The
highest priests have the chronology of their reincarna-
tion as far back as two thousand years. When one of
our friends died, they said he would be reborn a cow.
His mother donned a nun's cap, cut off her hair, and
foreswore all beef.
At one time, a plague of rats came to Batang. They
seemed to be everywhere. They ate the pumpkins,
the turnips, the potatoes, and crawled to the top of the
stalks of corn and ate the ears of grain perfectly clean.
The Tibetans said they were the Chinese soldiers who
had been killed in the recent fighting, and had come
back to get filled up, since they had been hungry so
180 SHELTON OF TIBET
All Tibetans are Buddhists, but it is a kind of lama-
istic Buddhism which would not be recognized by
Buddha himself. It came over from India, perhaps
under the reign of Asoka, but later the books and trans-
lations came with the scholars and priests for whom
the first king of Tibet sent. In the early days the books
were completely memorized, and not written, and the
people told us that mistakes always occurred in the
written books, and they were not true, but when they
committed them to memory, there were no blunders.
As to just how the charms, and the idea of power in
a piece of a lama's gown, or the strap of his boot, or
the print of his tooth came into general acceptance, it
is hard to say. But at any rate, their superstitions
became so vile that a reformer was born in the north.
When he was a small baby, so the story goes, his
mother shaved his head and threw his hair from the
window. A wonderful tree sprang from it, over which
hangs a silver shield presented by the Chinese Em-
peror, and on the leaves are Tibetan characters. It is
said that men have tried over and over again to make
this tree grow in other parts of Tibet, but have always
Here and there, as the Doctor traveled over hills and
mountains, in the valleys and out-of-the-way places, he
found little temples and monasteries, and sometimes a
nunnery nestling among the hills. They were always
ready for medicine, and always entertained him. If
they were afraid at first, he would set up his tents
and go about his business, and gradually one or two
would come, and when they met with no harm, the rest
would follow. They were much interested i the idea
TIBET, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS 181
of a God of love and mercy, but when the application
of it was turned around to be fitted to them, they said
it was not possible, that no man could love his enemies.
Sometimes the temples were covered with obscene
pictures and carvings, but as all their literature, re-
ligion, and customs came from India, it seems possible
that this, too, might be an offshoot of the worship of
the phallic symbol, or genitals, that is found yet in
some places of India. It seemed to be so old that the
fact that this was worshiped did not seem to be known
by those in charge, and by some scholars it is classified
as belonging to the old Bon religion.
PEOPLE AND EVENTS
TIBETANS WITH WHOM THE MISSIONARIES CAME IN
CONTACT. THE FATE OF THE INTERPRETER HO
"A white Tibetan snow cock does not
hatch blackbirds!' TIBETAN PROVERB.
The local power of the Tibetans against the Chinese
official authority was swaying in the balance. A man
supposed to be a Tibetan robber was brought in by the
Chinese. The tendons of his heels were cut, he was
flogged, and made to wear the wooden collar or kang.
Stories of bribery were numerous. The stealing of
guns and the punishing of men here and there seemed
to be the business of the year. A rumor came that the
soldiers inside Tibet were thinking of rebelling again,
as their money for some years back had not been paid.
An English consul came out from Chiamdo. It was
on Washington's birthday that he arrived. Dr. Shelton
invited the Chinese general to have supper with the
consul, and the general congratulated the consul on its
being Washington's birthday !
More rumors came that the war was coming to
Batang. With a great trustfulness both Tibetans and
Chinese brought their goods for safety to the mission
compounds, and sometimes asked to be allowed to sleep
there. The Tibetan robber who had had his heel ten-
PEOPLE AND EVENTS 183
dons cut, and who had been kept in prison all this
time, was finally beheaded.
The Doctor made a journey to Yen Jin, a place
where the salt wells are located. The Chinese general
there entertained him. In the course of the evening,
he told him that he had a nice Tibetan woman he
would like to present to him for a wife. The general
knew better, but he thought it was a great joke on Dr.
Shelton. The Doctor told him that one wife was all
he could manage ; he did not see how the general man-
aged three. But it was a difficult proposition not to
offend the Tibetan lady, as she had no objection to
being given away, and fully expected to be. But the
Doctor told her very kindly that it was not a foreign
custom : that our men had only one wife, and he already
Doctor was very fond of cats, and coming home one
time, he brought a little striped kitten to the girls, "a
calico cat," he called her. One day she presented us
with four kittens, and Dorothy said the cat angel
brought them. As soon as they had their eyes open,
pussy would carry one at a time and bring them from
the woodshed around to the front door, and mew until
Dr. Shelton would get up and let her in. Then she would
jump up on his bed and deposit the kitten, and back
she would go to get the rest. When the four were
in, she would get in, too, and be quite happy. How-
ever, it took until about the fourth generation of cats
before we got one that was really like a home cat.
In the meantime, Jack, the Doctor's dog, did not ap-
preciate cats, and he was very much disgusted when
they came in, as he considered it his privilege to stick
184 SHELTON OF TIBET
his nose in the bed and wake the Doctor in the morn-
ing. One day the Doctor and Mr. McLeod went hunt-
ing. They went over a mountain which was very dry,
upon which there were no springs or rivulets of any
kind, and Jack followed. He ran and ran, until he
got very hot, and the Doctor saw he was not able to
follow, so he poured from his canteen into the dog's
mouth the few last drops of water that it held. The
men came on home, but Jack did not come. About
dark, the Doctor started a Tibetan man to find out
what was the matter. He traveled as long as he could
see, and did not find the dog, then lay down on the
path and slept until morning. When he awakened
he saw the dead body of the dog a few feet away from
him. He carried him down the mountain, and he was
buried by a little stream under the trees.
The Doctor went with Jii Lama for a short trip to see
his mother, who was ill. In the black tents these peo-
ple lived, with their flocks and herds around them.
They make a kind of cheese by drying the curded milk
in the hot sun. It gets very hard, but softens up when
you put it in the butter tea. They make a sour cheese,
also, which is something like our cottage cheese, only
more sour. The yak gives very rich milk. As soon
as they found out that Dr. Shelton was fond of milk,
they got fresh milk for him, cooled it in the little
mountain stream, and gave it to him to drink. They
were as delighted as he was when he was greatly pleased
The devil or some of his agents seemed to have
broken loose in the town. The chief priest prophesied
that there would be seven deaths before the trouble
PEOPLE AND EVENTS 185
was ended. A crazy man almost killed a woman, sev-
eral Chinese jumped into the river, a child was
drowned, and the quota had reached six. Whether the
seventh fatality occurred or not, I have no record, but
presume that it did, for, strange to say, they have a
way of telling the truth in their prophecies which is
rather difficult to understand.
Dr. Shelton took our little girls for a trip on the
mountain. It was Dorothy's birthday, and she rode a
mule, and Dorris a horse. They went so high they
could hardly move for the altitude, and the snow came
down on the tents, which fell in on them. They came
home next day, their faces burned red, and were rather
glad to get down from that height as they couldn't run
and play at all.
The political situation got more difficult all the time,
and there was news everywhere that the Tibetans were
going to rebel. They said they wanted to make peace,
but the Chinese thought it only a ruse to gain time.
They asked Dr. Shelton to go and take care of the
wounded where they had been fighting, but the gen-
eral would not let him go until he was sure that it
was safe. One afternoon he got word that he might
go, so everything had to be gotten ready: bedding,
clothes, towels, soaps, and medicines. When he started
the general sent twenty-five soldiers to protect him.
It was useless to look for a letter, as it took so many
men to protect the carrying of the mail to the general
that it was not sent back very often.
The opening of the hospital occurred at this time.
All the doors were thrown open, free for everybody to
go through and see everything that was in it: the
186 SHELTON OF TIBET
women's ward, the men's ward, the chapel and dis-
pensary, the laboratory, the isolation ward, the emer-
gency ward, the kitchen, and the operating room. The
first day was men's day, and about three hundred came ;
the next was women's day, and there were five hun-
dred, not counting the babies they carried. The priests
were especially invited, but the abbot took a sudden
headache, and could not come, and would not let the
little boys come who were in training, so there were
only about thirty in all. I presume the abbot cast lots,
and wasn't to visit the foreigners that day. An old
man fell two stories and broke his legs, and he was
carried into the hospital.
It is a difficult matter to purchase things from the
Tibetans, as they keep them hidden away, and seldom
bring them out for anyone to see. If they have any-
thing to sell, they usually bring it hidden in their
gowns, or after night. They brought one day to Dr.
Shelton a beautiful yellow satin scroll, bearing an order
from the Dalai Lama to the authorities in Batang,
and signed with his seal. It had been written some two
hundred years ago, and was very interesting. An-
other time, the young prince brought a beautiful book.
The letters were in raised gold, set with turquoise and
pearls. It had been part of his mother's dowry when
she came from Lassa to be the bride of his father. He
said he wanted the Doctor to have it because it had
belonged to his mother. Some of the sacred books
were brought and sold in the same secretive way. The
silver temple service, incense burners, butter lamps, and
other things of solid silver were brought after night
PEOPLE AND EVENTS 187
by the priests to be sold, in order to raise money to
buy back their land from the Chinese.
On one Saturday morning, Li Quay Guang's boy
was born, and the Doctor was with him all night. The
day following, a Tibetan was beaten with a rock, al-
most killed, and brought into the hospital. There was
also an operation on one of the Chinese majors for
The young prince came one evening, bringing a gold-
plated bridle to sell the Doctor, in order to get a little
money with which to buy wine or opium. He was a
lad of twenty, fine-looking, and with much natural
ability, but he had been a prisoner with his family in
Chentu, where they had all died but himself. He came
back to Batang alone, an opium sot. He could drink
a kettle of wine, and never lose his balance. He could
smoke opium all day and all night, and never seem the
worse for it. The Doctor did not purchase the bridle,
but after the boy left he said, "It is a pity someone
cannot save that young fellow, and make him of some
use in the world." I said, "I do not think anyone
cares enough for him to attempt the job. I rather think
it is up to you." In a few days he came in and said,
"Will you take the boy in the home for a while?" and
we did so.
It was the beginning of a long, hard, losing fight.
The Doctor took him into the dispensary, to teach him
medicine, but washing a beggar's sores was not the
work for an eastern prince. We taught him English,
taught him how to be clean, and Guay Guang preached
often to him. Yet he would slip away and get the
wine or opium, and come back and confess it, and we
188 SHELTON OF TIBET
would try over again. His heart was full of hate
toward the enemies of his household, and one day
he told us he said his prayers. We asked him what
he said. He replied, "I believe that your God is
stronger than ours, and I have prayed to Him to de-
stroy my enemies." Forgiveness of an enemy is not
in a Tibetan's conception of religion.
He stayed with us about a year, and then we went
home, but we heard that he was smoking opium once
more. It was this prince who went on several trips
with the Doctor, and who pleaded that he would take
him with him to his mother's people in Lassa when he
went. He was with the Doctor on his last trip, he was
the man who rode as hard as he could into Batang for
Dr. Hardy when the Doctor was wounded, and he and
the teacher wore the white flower of Tibetan mourn-
ing when their master left them.
The hospital was full, every bed filled, and some
patients on the floor. Some were wounded and some
were trying to break off opium, among them two
women. But it is a very difficult habit to break, and
the percentage of those who actually quit could be
placed at about one in fifteen.
As the Tibetan power increased, a certain class in
Batang, knowing that the Iryinguan's son, the young
prince, was not capable of ruling, formed a plan to
bring the Dayinguan's widow back to Batang and make
her head of the country. The whole city went out to
meet her. She had a fierce and wonderful reputation..
She came to call on us, and we returned the call. She
gave us a feast, but did not eat at the table with us.
She was one of the few Tibetan women who could
PEOPLE AND EVENTS 189
read and write Tibetan well. Something happened,
we never discovered quite what, but the plan fell
through, and after a few months' residence, she re-
turned to Litang.
Three men were caught and taken out in the fields
and shot by the general for stealing guns; one was a
Tibetan and two were Chinese.
Some disease broke out among the cows I presume
the rinder-pest and most of the mission cows died.
Our teacher brought over one for us to use, but we
were very uncomfortable, because every morning we
expected to find her dead.
It was Christmas time again, and the mission fed
about two hundred and fifty beggars and poor. Mr.
and Mrs. McLeod came from America, two days after
Christmas. The journey had been very uneventful,
except that Mrs. McLeod, not being familiar with the
square opening in Tibetan roofs, accidentally stepped
through one, and fell head first on the pile of manure
in the lower story. It was lucky it was a barn that
time. As it was, her glasses were broken, as well as
two of her ribs, which caused her to suffer for some
time after she arrived.
Life seemed made up of small things. There was
nothing great or wonderful: hard work every day,
discouragements often; but through it all the Doctor,
worn and tired, would say, "It is bound to come out
all right. God doesn't make mistakes, and His plans
are sure to come true. He has a hard time getting
things done, because He has to use such poor instru-
ments. It is always an astonishing thing to realize
that He can use me."
190 SHELTON OF TIBET
In 1918, events were playing rapidly into the hands
of the Tibetans. Word came that all the Chinese from
the inside had been driven out through Lassa into
India, the Tibetans holding all the cities. Shangchen
was all Tibetan, and sent word to the governor of
Kham that if he wanted Batang they would take it
for him. They wanted to kill every Chinese they could
find. Shangchen' s toll of hate was not yet full. The
governor said, "When I want Batang I will take it."
The only two cities held by the Chinese were Yen-
jin and Batang. On the hills around the city the
Tibetans were meeting every day, swearing oaths of
fealty, to stand by each other and to kill every Chinese
in sight. They were drinking chicken blood to clinch
the oath, and should any of their number turn traitor,
he must die.
There was an interpreter called Ho, a half-caste,
keen and cunning, who had long served the officials in
Batang. No Chinese official will take the trouble to
learn so barbarous a language as Tibetan: he must
always have an interpreter. This man would bring a
case before the official if he were bribed sufficiently;
if not, he might bring the case anyway, but it would
be bad for the offender. For years the Tibetans had
suffered at his hands, but now he was drinking chicken
blood, along with the rest.
Just what happened we do not know, but the time
came when he went to the yamen and told of the plot
to take the city and kill all the Chinese, and the Tibetans
found it out. How could they bring this man's death
about, when they dared not inflict the death penalty?
But he must die. With consummate skill the committee
PEOPLE AND EVENTS 191
of Tibetan men in whose hands lay the real, but not
the nominal, power forced the Chinese officials to pro-
nounce the death penalty, that he should be killed by
shooting. So quickly was it all done that the inter-
preter was being led to the mountain to be shot before
the mission knew. His son, a boy of sixteen, was in
school one of the best students, and a fine lad. Some
of his friends knew about it, but did not tell him.
They coaxed him to go out for a walk away from the
town while it was being done, as they were afraid he,
through filial piety, would jump between the guns and
his father, and lose his own life in order to save him.
We heard the gun and the people screaming, and
realized shortly what had been done.
So many times had this man by his wit gotten out
of things, that I believe he thought he could do it
this time as well. It seems to be a law that the man
who loads the gun does not do the shooting, and that
the man who shoots is to shoot but once. As Ho was
led out by the soldiers through the town, he turned
and cursed the head man of the Tibetans and all his
household, because he believed he had brought this
about. The man who was to do the shooting stood
near with his gun, and as Ho passed him, he spurned
him with his foot, saying, "Shoot, why don't you?"
He did shoot, and the gun snapped on a blank cartridge.
It had been tampered with, someone who had been
bribed had loaded it with a useless cartridge, and the
interpreter thought he was safe, as he expected him to
shoot but once. But the man got scared, as he was
afraid for his life if he failed to kill the interpreter,
so he fumbled his gun and shot again, wildly, in that
192 SHELTON OF TIBET
crowd of people. A man stood on each side of Ho,
holding his arms until he should be shot, but the big
bullet went wild, killing one man instantly, and shatter-
ing the thigh bone of another man, who died in a hos-
pital in a day or two, and passing through Ho's lung.
He didn't seem to be badly hurt, and they took him
home. But in a little while the son came running,
asking for a bed at the hospital, for there he thought
he might have a chance to live, as he said, "They will
kill him anyway if he does not die now." The bed
was fixed and the sick man carried in, but he died at
one o'clock that night. His son stayed in school, but
with the Tibetan's idea of a feud it has been in his
heart that, when he is a man grown, he must kill the
foe of his family.
After the death of these two men, we took their
sons into the orphanage. It had been started some
little time before, as so many people had come, saying,
"Take my baby. It will starve if you do not>" when
the father had gone away or died, or the mother was
dead, and there was no one to care for it. The fear
of us was entirely gone. In the early days, the peo-
ple would have hidden their babies' faces, and expected
us to do them some harm, but now they brought more
than we could care for. There are thirty now, kept
in the school building in Batang, as there is no orphan-
age built, and if one out of ten is as great as Li Guay
Guang has proved, it pays.
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK
INCREASING HOSTILITY BETWEEN TIBETANS AND CHI-
NESE. DR. SHELTON HELPS TO SECURE A TRUCE
"You needn't speak, your reputation is
You needn't write, your deeds na man
can hide." TIBETAN PROVERB.
The teacher's mother was very ill, and he did not
have much heart for work and study. She soon grew
better, and speaking of their customs one day, he
said, "If my mother had died, I should have had to
spend several hundred rupees to pay the priests to
say prayers for her." "But," I said, "you don't be-
lieve in that, do you?" He said, "No, but I would
have no 'face/ and everybody would laugh at me if I
did not follow the regular custom."
The mail started one morning, and the mail man
was robbed just at the edge of town. Eighteen letters
which we had written were in the mail, with what the
rest of the people had sent, but they were never found.
Men from inside Tibet came, asking for medicine
for the wounded. Dr. Shelton was willing to go to
them if they would allow him. The general's baby
became ill with bronchitis, and he called the Doc-
tor to look after him, but he got no better. The
194 SHELTON OF TIBET
Doctor told the general that he did not think they
were doing what he told them to ; and when the gen-
eral began to inquire, he found that his Tibetan wife
had borrowed money secretly, and had sent out to
a lama to see if the baby should take foreign medi-
cine. He cast lots and said "No," so she left the money
to hire lamas to say prayers. When this was dis-
covered, it was too late to do any good, and the gen-
eral's only son died. The Doctor went over and stayed
with him, as he was almost frantic with grief. Some
months later, a second son was born, and in some mys-
terious way, he also passed away. The Chinese said
that it was the Tibetan wife, that she would see to it
that the general should never have a son, since she
had never given him one. She was wildly jealous of
the little Chinese wife.
There was fighting around on all sides at Yenjin,
Gartok, and Derge. Control was slowly but surely
passing into the hands of the Tibetans. They had
already taken Chiamdo, fifteen days to the northwest,
and it was rumored that they were coming to take
Batang. A man came out from Lassa, one of their
great priests, and we invited him over to look at the
teacher's work. He did not seem to know any more
than the teacher did, but the Doctor was much pleased
to know that Gezongongdii's work was approved by
the Lassa man, who said that any of the teacher's
translation work could be understood anywhere in the
whole of Tibet.
A legend is told of the large lamasery at Chiamdo.
The Doctor had visited there before its destruction,
being invited and entertained by the priests because
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK 195
of his medical skill. In this lamasery sat an idol, and
down its cheeks and over its gown and the floor were
streaks resembling blood. The Tibetans said the idol
had wept great tears of blood because of_the frightful
sufferings they had to undergo at the hands of the
One evening the Chinese general in Batang sent for
the Doctor and asked him what we were going to do
in case of attack by the Tibetans, as he was not able
to protect us. He came back to the mission and dis-
cussed the question with all of us. It was unanimously
decided to stay. There did not seem to be any place
to run to, or we might have attempted it.
Since we were not leaving, he asked Dr. Shelton and
the teacher to go to Janka (Chinese name for Gartok)
and see if he could make a truce with the Tibetans.
He got ready at once, and they started. We were
not very comfortable to see him go, for we could not
tell what might happen next. The Tibetans might at-
tack from any side. The Chinese might do anything.
Letters from the Doctor said they would grant a truce
of a month. On hearing ..this, the general sent word
for them to return. The Doctor came alone, arriving
about dark, and went to the general for his last instruc-
tions. He was home for two meals and a bath, and
started again at three o'clock the next morning for
When he reached the Governor, he asked if there
was any chance for Batang. The Tibetan general said
that if the Chinese would surrender, there was a chance
to save the city, but if not, there was nothing more
to be said. The Doctor said he had no more instruc-
196 SHELTON OF TIBET
tions, so he would return. He asked in case they at-
tacked the city if they would respect three things : first,
the mission property; second, the lamasery, and third,
the homes of the common people. To this the Tibetan
governor readily agreed. As to whether there would
be fighting, he stated that he could not say, as he took
his orders through the Galon Lama, and he from the
For one reason and then another the general at
Batang put off going into Janka. The Doctor was
there as surety for him, and was gone a month, and
still there was no sign of settlement. Rumors of all
kinds were in the air but we were sure of only two
things : first, that the general had no authority from
Pekin to settle with the Tibetans, and second, that we
were shut off from the world and that there were no
men and no money coming in during this time.
The Doctor was in the Governor's house and was
treated most courteously, as a guest. Beside his teacher,
the two chief lamas had gone with him, and while there
he preached , and doctored. One day they were talk-
ing, and one of the priests told him that he could not
hit a catta (a silken scarf) at so many yards with his
foreign rifle. Doctor said, "We will have a try." The
high priest took the catta, blew upon it, tied sacred
knots in it, charmed it, and said prayers over it. A
special lama was asked to say prayers for it while they
were out shooting. It was laid, a thin strip of cloth,
on a sloping bank. The Doctor shot at it and tore it
While the Doctor was there, the Tibetans were tak-
ing those of their number who had aided the Chinese
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK 197
and every day lopped off some hands and feet as their
punishment for being traitors. Several hands hung in
front of the Governor's yamen as a warning to the
The soldiers in Batang had threatened to riot, as
they had had nothing to eat for three days. So all
the grain and money that could be gotten together
at the mission were given to them to keep them quiet,
for a time at least.
Time went on, and the Doctor wrote down and said
he would wait a little while longer for the general,
and if he did not come he would have to come home
anyway, as he felt he could not stay away from the
station longer. He had been gone almost two months.
The general finally decided to go, and everything
seemed very quiet after he left. The official ordered
that the Tibetans make no more wine, as barley was
so scarce. Two women were caught making it, and
were forced to wear the kang (wooden collar) for a
As soon as the general arrived in Janka, the Doctor
started for home, and we were surely glad to have him
back again. A letter soon came out, stating that the
Chinese at Chiamdo, with seven hundred men and a
thousand guns, had surrendered to the Tibetans, and
that at Janka a certain truce had been arranged for.
The general, without authority, was unable to do any-
thing definite, but had arranged for a short peace, and
put off being captured as long as possible. However,
the people in Batang were expecting to be attacked.
Some were leaving town. Some were sending their
things up on the mountains, having holes dug in the
198 SHELTON OF TIBET
ground and burying them. Little holes were dug in
the mud walls of the houses, money and valuables put
in them, and the holes sealed up again.
An English consul, Teichman, came in at this time
and went into Chiamdo to see if he could arrange a
longer truce. A letter came from him asking Dr. Shel-
ton to come in and look after the wounded who had
been hurt in the last fighting, which had occurred some
months before. Again everything was in a great rush
to get ready the Doctor and the young prince, who was
going with him to help him in his operations. When
the Doctor reached Chiamdo, he found the worst cases
of old wounds and sores he had ever seen at one time.
He and his three helpers operated for three days, per-
forming forty major operations, washing and dressing
filthy wounds and terrible mutilations, besides many
There were two men who begged pitifully for opera-
tions. The Doctor knew they were not able to stand
it, so he asked the Galon Lama if he should operate.
He told him not to operate upon them. The Doctor
had lost no case yet, and the Galon Lama felt that to
lose one would do more harm than all the Doctor had
healed would do good. But it was very difficult to
tell the poor fellows he could do nothing for them. The
military commander was much pleased with his service,
and said he would be glad if they could have a hospital
The Chinese were demanding more money from the
Tibetans at Batang. They called it tax, but they de-
manded it again and again. In the meanwhile, the
teacher, the consul who had come to Batang, and Mr.
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOE 199
Ogden, of the mission, were drafting some kind of a
treaty for use between the Tibetans and the Chinese.
The general returned from Janka, and he and the
consul set off for Chiamdo. Their mission looked
doubtful, for the Tibetans had gone too far and had
too much power in their hands by that time. One of
the Chinese majors had gone out in the country with
his soldiers to fight the Tibetans, who surrounded him.
They took delight in keeping him penned up, shooting
any of his men who came outside the stone house in
in which they found refuge.
One of the boys with him, who afterward came in,
had been shot through the big bone of the leg. He
was in the hospital many months. He was the lad
who drew the pictures for the first Tibetan story book
we produced for the mission. Gu Da Ren was held
prisoner by the Tibetans for some weeks, but finally
got out all right and came safely home to Batang,
though we never expected to see him again.
We attempted to make a song in Tibetan to the
tune of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." When we asked
Li Guay Guang, our evangelist, to look at it he said,,
"Well, Tibet doesn't belong to the Tibetans, why should
you make that kind of a song?" and the teacher was
much disgusted because he said he didn't have any
country to love, and certainly would not be willing to
die for what he didn't have.
A good many times the Doctor had attempted to get
a letter to Lassa, asking permission to come in, but
no man would carry it. They were afraid to be caught
with the foreign writing upon them. When he made
his visit to the Governor, the Doctor said he had tried
200 SHELTON OF TIBET
many times to send a letter to the Dalai Lama, but had
never succeeded in getting one sent, whereupon the
Governor said he would be quite willing to send it for
him. He very kindly did so, and a letter came from
the Dalai Lama, granting him permission to come, pro-
viding there was no treaty between the nations for-
bidding him to do so, and as there was no such treaty,
the plans for the trip to Lassa were made.
Two of the inlaid wine flasks were sent out to him
by the Galon Lama in recognition of his service in
Chiamdo. A letter came out from the English consul,
sending the temporary treaty he had made, arranging
a truce for a year between the Chinese and Tibetans.
During this year, smallpox seemed to be everywhere.
The Doctor was busy making vaccine. He would
inoculate two calves at a time in preparing the vaccine.
He went into the country and vaccinated great num-
bers, and sent his assistants everywhere, but many
refused, as they were still afraid. One day a man rode
in and asked the Doctor if he would go out on the
mountain and vaccinate his two boys. He was afraid
to bring them into the city, as smallpox was so preva-
It seemed very strange that the people in the city
would go to the lamas and have them cast lots to see
whether they should be vaccinated or not. Many of
the people who took this course did not come, and
many of the priests reaped a rich harvest saying prayers
-for those who died. One of the lamas remarked one
day, "Business is very poor. There have not been
many deaths out in the country." As a rule, when a
wealthy man dies, his personal belongings, consisting
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK 201
of silver, rings, good gowns, sword, gun, etc., are
divided and sent here and there to the lamas, in order
that they may pray for his soul.
The teacher's mule driver and one of the followers
of the Chinese general were foolishly trying one day
to swim across the river with the mules, and both men
were drowned. The Tibetans say that the demons
under the water, who are called lu and have men's
heads with snakes' bodies, catch people and pull them
under the water and drown them.
One day a man was carried into the hospital on two
boards. He had been shot in the thigh some months
before. There was little that could be done. On every
hand the people were still dying of smallpox. Five
died in one day and two the next, until the teacher re-
marked, "All who have cast lots are dead."
The Chinese caught a Tibetan who was supposed to
be a robber, and beheaded him, but he was brave to the
last, and seemed to have no fear at all. A man in
the valley had been shot by robbers, and his thigh bone
was broken into hundreds of little pieces. He had
bled for thirty-six hours before they brought him in.
The Doctor took off his leg, but could not save him.
One of the teachers in the school became very ill.
Mr. Ogden took him into his home for some time, but
it was a hopeless case. He was moved to the hospital
and finally, when his father saw that he was not going
to get well under foreign care, he took him home. We
had kept him clean and comfortable, and seen that he
had proper food, but now he was not to be washed any
more and was to take what he was told to. The priests
came every day with their horns and bells and mo-
202 SHELTON OF TIBET
notorious reading, until he was frantic with the noise.
They would not allow him to sleep, but someone must
always be near him to slap him or pinch him or throw
cold water on him. It must have been a relief to him
when his life passed out and he could rest
Another trip was made out through the country to
vaccinate people. The Doctor vaccinated one hundred
and seven, his helper, Johnny, thirty-three, and Mr. Bu
forty-four. Another day Doctor Shelton and the
teacher went up on the mountain and vaccinated about
The soldiers on the street were again demanding
more grain and more money. The people were very
much afraid, and the officials were on their knees beg-
ging the soldiers not to loot and kill. They asked the
Tibetans for grain to keep them for five months, but
the people would certainly starve if they should give it.
The teacher ran away, as he was afraid that if he could
not give all the grain and money the soldiers wanted,
they would kill him. The general came in, bringing
with him a hundred wounded soldiers, expecting to
send them home. The plan now was to send out most
of the useless people, so that it would not take so much
to keep them. The scare of the interior Tibetans com-
ing to take the city of Batang seemed to be about set-
tled. The general finally asked to be allowed to go
back into China, but the soldiers did not want him
to go for fear they would never get their pay. How-
ever, in some way or other he managed it, and got
out of the city, and with his two wives escaped into
Soon after this, our furlough home was about due,
GUEST OF GOVERNOR IN GARTOK 203
and it was time for us to leave for America. We
learned of the following events in letters from those
on the field while we were away.
The Tibetans held the upper hand, and planned two
or three times to attack and capture Batang, but never
succeeded. They sent word to the missionaries not to
be frightened, as they did not come to harm them. An
attack occurred about three o'clock one morning, and
the fearful, blood-curdling yell of the Tibetans rolled
through the valley, causing fear and panic. The Chi-
nese garrison was very small. Bullets flew everywhere,
striking the mission house walls. Some of the people
ran to the mission houses for refuge. The Chinese
commander very coolly finished his breakfast, mustered
his men, got out his cannon, and proceeded to chase the
Tibetans off and shoot down most of the mud houses
in the city. The second attack was much the same.
It was very difficult for the Chinese to hold and
maintain authority in that raw land without soldiers,
without food, and without money. The present con-
dition of China is so unsettled that just what is to
become of Tibet is a question hard to determine. With
justice she would like the Chinese rule. During the
last war between China and Tibet, China was so en-
gaged with her own internal troubles that she had no
time to give to Tibet, and was easily vanquished. Tibet
wanted to try her own wings, and rule her own people,
but it is very doubtful whether she will be permitted
to do that.
About the time the World War broke out, a treaty
was made called "The Simla Treaty," because made in
the city of Simla, India. Four countries convened over
204. SHELTON OF TIBET
the disposal of Tibet. They wished to make the treaty
so that the dividing line would extend from east to
west, leaving the southern part, including Lassa, under
English suzerainty. This left the northern part, which
is cold and barren and of not much value, to China's
control, or to be let alone, as she wished. China re-
fused to sign this treaty. Just at present the English
hold a lease on the Chumbi Valley as surety for the
payment of the indemnity and cost of Colonel Young-
husband's expedition to Lassa. There are many mil-
lions of rupees of trade between Tibet and India every
year. Indian and English commodities come over the
border into Tibet, brought by native traders. An
English representative resides at Gyantze, a short dis-
tance from Lassa, to protect the British interests. Out
of Tibet go gold, musk, borax, and wool. Formerly,
most of this was sent out through China, but since the
republican form of government has been established,
and China as a whole has no government and no laws,
all roads are unsafe ; no caravans, therefore, come out
from Lassa, and have not done so for some time but
all the trade that is worth while goes out through India.
CAPTURED BY BANDITS
IN YUNNAN PROVINCE. DR. AND MRS. SHELTON AND
FAMILY ARE ATTACKED BY BANDITS WHO CARRY
HIM OFF. HIS DIARY DURING CAPTIVITY OF MORE
THAN TWO MONTHS
"As you go forth to -fight, be in the
front; as you return, be the laist to
come." TIBETAN PROVERB.
It was 1919, almost time for another furlough, but
we didn't want to leave. This last term of service, in
spite of the unsettled state of the country, had been such
a happy one ; we loved the people, and they loved us ;
they had ceased to fear and come to trust us. It was
very doubtful whether I could return to Tibet, as
Dorris, who was fifteen, and Dorothy, who was twelve,
must not be cheated of their birthright of an educa-
tion among their own kind. They must know what
it meant to live in America and be an American, and
help with the opportunities that lie at her door. So
with sad hearts we began to pack and to plan to sell
what we wouldn't need again, breaking up our home
and getting ready for the future. But the girls have
said since, over and over, "We have known no happy
days since we left Batang," and surely it seems true.
It is always a difficult matter to say good-by, so it
206 SHELTON OF TIBET
was planned to leave so early in the day that the school-
boys and orphans would not be up, but they went the
night before and slept on the way in order to say good-
by to us. It wasn't an easy parting and had we known
what lay before I fear none of us would have had the
courage to go. It is well that the future is unknown.
The journey out was over a new road, new to us at
least, down through the province of Yunnan. We had
always before gone in and out through Tachienlu and
the Yangtse River. We had no tents for the first few
days. Traveling over this road the scenery was mar-
velous. There was snow on the passes, and when on
top of the mountains it looked as though you could
travel forever in any direction and never get anywhere.
We could see the great white mountain to which many
of the Tibetans make a holy pilgrimage each year. It
is snow-capped always, they say, and the god who
dwells there is a very powerful one. We came to one
small village where the people watched us narrowly,
not just knowing what we expected to do.
When we left this place it was impossible to get the
chairs along the road. Trees were felled in a criss-
cross way, one from one side and one from the other.
We got out and walked, as the chair had to be turned
on its side to get through. Then came the big moun-
tain with steps of stone leading to the top, just covered
with a light sift of snow slippery and melting. As
the poor mules went up bearing the loads they slipped
and fell, bumping their noses on the stones, and leaving
a trail marked with blood when they attempted to get
under the trees. The loads had to be removed and
carried forward by the men and again strapped on. I
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 207
had to walk, too, and slipped like the mules. Only a
big Tibetan holding each arm kept my own nose in
safety. Going down it was impossible to use the chairs
again, and the rest of the caravan on horses had gotten
far ahead of me. For an hour I walked down and
down and all at once met Dr. Shelton coming back with
a horse for me. I protested that I couldn't ride,
"Well," he said, "you'll have to ride the horse or let
a Tibetan carry you." I had mercy on the Tibetan.
On asking why the trees were cut in that peculiar
way, we were told "To keep robbers from attacking
suddenly and getting away quickly." Such is the cus-
tom of robbers in this land when they make an attack.
They come down the valley with a swoop, get all they
can, and ride swiftly out again. This plan kept them
from getting either in or out very speedily.
Some nights the four cots would be placed under
the edge of a cliff which towered hundreds of feet over
us, looking as if it might fall and cover us up sud-
denly. As we went to bed we could lie and see the
stars and the magnificent mountains in the distance,
and a little way from us the campfire of the men,
around which they sat drinking their hot butter tea be-
fore they, too, turned in. Some nights we spent in
forests, forests primeval, pines so tall and straight that
all the masts for all the ships in the world could be
made from them could they but be gotten to the sea.
Some times whole forests would be festooned with
"old man's beard," which seemed to smother and kill
the trees. Here we could have a glorious bonfire with
which to cook supper. Another night it was snowing
and after the evening meal the Doctor put us all to
208 SHELTON OF TIBET
bed each in his own cot, and covered us over with an
oil sheet, and there we slept snugly with the snow
falling softly over us.
When we got farther down, we went into the homes
of the tribesmen and stayed over night. Sometimes
they gave us the main room in which to sleep, and we
could see them putting the holy water in front of the
idols, lighting the butter lamps, and making obeisance
to the idol in the "God Room." In all big homes this
idol room is found, where is placed the special god of
the family, the holy relics and charm boxes, and where
the family worship every day. In our teacher's home
the wife and mother lit the little butter lamps every
morning, made the offerings of grain, filled the bowls
in front of the god with holy water and worshiped.
A smooth place on the floor showed where their but-
tery hands touched every day when they bowed before
Often these tribesfolk asked if we had any tea or
salt and some of our men usually did have the kind
they wanted. This was the regular "brick tea" which
comes from China and the black salt, which is only
dirty salt, but which they say has no strength if it is
white. They would rather have the tea and salt than
money, and we often paid for our night's lodging with
these things. These tribes seem to partake of some of
the characteristics of the Tibetans. They have a lan-
guage of their own and yet seem to be mixed in some
way with the Chinese. Perhaps they are some of the
aboriginal races of China. I think perhaps they some-
what resemble the Nosuland people judging from Mr..
Pollard's description in his book on that country.
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 209
Sometimes we came to lakes, and the Doctor would get
some ducks. There were little rivers winding here
and there, temples stuck up on the mountain sides,
lamaseries of Tibetan monks hidden away, always
wildly beautiful, very quiet, and intensely interesting.
Later, we came down to real Chinese territory where
the dirt and filth of ages reposed in the corners and
under the beds as well as on the beds; but here we
could get hot rice and vegetables and sometimes pork
and chicken. We passed through the city of Dali,
through which great caravans of opium come from
Burma. Here at one time a general rebelled and being
caught with one hundred or so of his men, he was
killed. The men were tied up to trees in a row and
machine-gun fire turned upon them. The firing began
at their heads, the scattering shot gradually lowering
to the breasts and through the bodies until most o
them were dead. One day going along the men said,
"You'll see a tiger man pretty soon," but what was a
tiger man ? We soon saw him sitting by the wayside
begging. When he was hunting one day a tiger had
clawed his face tearing out the eyes, tearing off the
ncse and lip and he still lived.
On again we went, an escort being sent from one
station to another as is the Chinese custom, until the
tragic day when the Doctor was captured. Afterwards
we learned that the soldiers had been warned to stay
where they were, as Yang Tien Fu controlled the whole
country and with our men spies had traveled for two
days. At the last station only two unarmed men were
sent with us and when the attack came they ran away.
The story of his capture by the bandits, I shall not re-
210 SHELTON OF TIBET
peat but give to you the unpublished diary as Dr. Shel-
ton kept it when among these bandits.
The Doctor always carried in his saddle bags on all
of his journeys, a copy of Ian McLaren's "Beside the
Bonnie Brier Bush," a small Testament from Mr. Mc-
Lean, who was president of the Foreign Christian Mis-
sionary Society for so many years, and a volume of
poems by Robert Service, given him by Mr. Burnham,
the president of the United Christian Missionary So-
ciety, successor to the old Board. The poems of Serv-
ice especially appealed in this land, for here all things
are crude, as in the tales of the Northland, and the
truth is brutally told when it is told. In nature, raw,
rock riven, and wind torn, you do not stop to repeat
softly padded lines or tickle the ear with gently spoken
phrases. When among the bandits, he read these three
books over and over, regretting only that he did not
have a copy of the whole Bible, and especially of the
Psalms. The robbers did not trust his writing, as they
were afraid he would tell where they were, so on the
margins of the pages of "Beside the Bonnie Brier
Bush," he kept the words of his diary.
AN ACCOUNT OF MY CAPTURE AND DETENTION BY YANG
TIENFU, HEAD OF THE YUNNAN BANDITS
On Saturday, 3 January, about noon or a little after,
while riding peacefully along about fifty to one hun-
dred yards behind the chairs of Mrs. Shelton and the
two girls one of the soldiers who was with me suddenly
cried out, "Robbers! Robbers!" ran in front of my
mule, fired his gun in the air, and then started running
with the others back along the road we had come. I
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 211
looked for the robbers in the direction they were run-
ning, but could see no one. The shots began to come
from in front, and I saw them coming down around
the chairs which had been put down. I grabbed my
gun from its scabbard on my saddle and Andru, my
Tibetan servant, and I began running toward the chairs.
Seeing we were left alone, and the bandits were many,
I decided that non-resistance was best, so handed the
gun back to Andru, who put it back in the scabbard.
I walked on up to the chairs. Mrs. Shelton and the
children were crouching down behind them, calling to
me to get down, as the shots were flying all about. The
robbers then surrounded us and began taking our things
and one drew a large pistol, another a large sword,
The fellow with the pistol looked so grotesque
he had a long black streak on his face that I laughed.
Anyway we were not harmed. One man grabbed
Andru's knife and chopsticks, which were tied to him.
He looked appealingly to me.
I said, "Don't resist. Give it to him. It is all you
They took Mrs. Shelton's things from her chair,
among them a thermos bottle through which a shot had
gone. After we had been stripped of what they wanted,
a sort of headman came and said for me to go with
him to their headman back up the road we had come.
I started off with him and Mrs. Shelton called for me
not to leave them alone, but I could do nothing but
comply with what they wanted. This headman had my
camera and field glasses and wanted me to explain the
camera as we went along, which I did. Then he wanted
212 SHELTON OF TIBET
me to take his picture and show it to him on the spot.
Many people were along the road, all with their
packs open and the robbers taking whatever they
wanted, and making them strip and give them any gar-
ment that struck their fancy. We finally arrived at
the top of the pass over which we had just come, and
there grouped around their headman were about twenty
men. He had my gun, a Winchester shotgun, and
wanted me to show him how it worked, which I did.
A shot just then came whizzing from the valley be-
low the soldiers were coming in, as the four who
had been with us had raised the alarm. He commanded
his men to take me and go on up the mountain, and in-
formed me that I would be held for ransom. My mule
and two of the animals of servants having been brought
up, I mounted and we started. It was with a heavy
heart. I could see the chairs on the road in the valley
below. One of the men called for the chairs and
women to be brought up, but as they had to travel fast
they decided to let them go, for which I thanked God.
The battle was now in full swing behind us as I was
hurried on ahead, but the shots kept coming overhead.
After going some miles the shots became fewer and
fewer, and finally died out altogether. When we
stopped to rest a long, lean man asked me for my
watch, which had been overlooked at first.
It was getting dark now and we waited for the rest
of the band. They came straggling in a few at a time.
I counted seventy-one there at the resting place. The
headman came in and fires were built and supper cooked
and eaten, and then for two hours they smoked opium.
I was to learn in the days to come that they depended
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 213
when under strain far more on opium than on food.
About ten o'clock at night we started on. We traveled
along the crest of a ridge for some miles, then down
through brush into a valley to a small village where
they were expected, arriving about three in the morn-
ing. They all rolled at once in their blankets and be-
gan another round of opium. I was bedded down with
the long, slim man who had taken my watch. They
came in ones and twos and threes to see if anything
had been overlooked about me. Nothing remained but
my medicine case. They took the bottles and poured
the medicine out, to get the bottles for opium.
At daylight they were up again, but it was raining
and wind blowing so they decided to stay for a while
and get breakfast. I tried to care for my mule. They
wouldn't let the saddle be taken off. Neither was I to
be allowed to take my clothes off for some .days. I
could do nothing, so sat in an old straw shed and did
what Mrs. Shelton had often said I should do started
I had in my saddlebags three little books which were
a blessing a little red letter New Testament, given me
by Brother McLean in 1911, the "Rhymes of a Red
Cross Man," sent me by F. W. Burnham in January,
1917, but which had just arrived in Batang shortly be-
fore we left, and which I had not finished reading, and
McLaren's "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush." "A Doc-
tor of the Old School" is my ideal, after Jesus and
Livingstone. In this latter little volume I started my
diary Sunday, 4 January, and I've kept it up to date, 14
February, as it is the only way I have of keeping a
214 SHELTON OF TIBET
record of time. Seven weeks to-day and I'm still a
prisoner and likely to remain one indefinitely.
The first morning they came to me and asked me to
write a letter saying that if soldiers were sent after
them I would pay the penalty. I did not write it.
Only one man had been wounded shot through the
ankle. I attended to him and he is long since well. He
was very grateful.
They also have come to me with all kinds of offers
if I will join their band.
I spent the morning estimating what they had got
the previous day. Including the animals and all my
things, it amounts to about $1800.
The headman (Li Loapau I learned later he is
Yang Tien Fu himself) says that the Governor has
his family in jail in the capitol and that he doesn't wish
to harm me but to see if he can injure the Governor in
I suppose I can do no better from here on than to
copy my diary, though some of it seems out of place
now, but it will serve to show the state of things from
day to day.
4 January. Have no idea how things will turn out
and it does not matter much just about me. Glad loads
were not taken and Flo and girls. allowed to go. Head-
man just been here scheming to get help. Wants me
to help him get ammunition which, of course, I cannot
do. Says headman is at Jong Tien and he has come
back to recruit for him. These villages here are very
friendly to him. Wish I could help to get them settled
for good. Beginning of all trouble was refusal of offi-
cers to pay men for five months.
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 215
Monday 5. Started on at noon Sunday. Traveled
till near night, heard bugle call and stopped on moun-
tain till dark. Man had been to see what Flo and chil-
dren were doing. Said they were waiting at Lao Ya
Guan. Said they would take me down next day. At
dark went to village and stopped with confederate.
They were much afraid of meeting soldiers, as this con-
federate told them they were very near. Rested till
midnight. Crossed big road and telegraph lines about
midnight. On till three A. M. over mountains. Stopped
till daylight with some Catholic converts. Said Cath-
olic church was only three miles away and they were
taking me there, for which I was very thankful. Started
on this morning at daylight but back into mountains
again. After an hour I saw they were certainly not
going to the Catholic place. I sat down and told them
they could do as they pleased, I couldn't go farther.
The roads were so steep you couldn't ride. They took
one of my cards and sent a man to the Catholic priest
about two P. M. A card Claude Bailly with writing
in French which I couldn't read came back. They said
the priest had gone to take my family to Yunnan and
there would be a man back in five days.
Tuesday 6. About dark went down mountain to a
large temple and stayed all night and I got first sleep
since my capture Saturday. It is now Thursday after-
noon and we are still here in the temple, with forty
guards out in every direction. They have done noth-
ing all day but gamble and worship. I was very sick
and vomited all this morning. They want as condition
of my release one hundred and twenty guns and charge
of the road from Yunnan to Talifu. I suppose they
216 SHELTON OF TIBET
are negotiating through the priest with whom they
seem to be on very friendly terms. They all smoke all
the opium they want. Have all kinds of guns but are
short on cartridges. I have counted nineteen kinds of
guns and eight kinds of pistols and revolvers from old
firelocks down to the most modern rifles and Colt Auto-
matic forty-five pistols. There are eight priests in this
temple, which is very fine and seems to be about half
Tibetan. No bed. Clothes not off since Friday. They
never go to bed. Never without guns. If a man lays
his gun down a minute the captain gets after him.
Cartridge belts never off. They have plenty of money.
They have worked since first to get me to go with them.
They keep it up. At first I thought it was just talk
but am convinced they are in earnest. Want me to
take command of all money they can't trust each
other. They offer anything. Band now numbers one
hundred and four, others having come in. It is near
night now, and still no sign of moving. Catholic con-
vert told me yesterday he was afraid and would not
have come except to bring the priest's card. When he
went away he said he would come back, but did not.
One man wanted to go home had to have another man
agree to be killed if he gave away any information.
When a man joins the band he joins for keeps. Gam-
bling all day. Fifteen to twenty dollars changed hands
at every roll of the dice. I could get word out by de-
ceiving them and pretending to write for wife and chil-
dren to come and join me. They have been at me all
day to do this. They call me foreign officer. Been
trying to get shaved, but have not succeeded. My re-
fusal to do all things they ask, from smoking opium,
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 217
gambling they offer me money to gamble with etc.,
to being their leader I base on Christianity, which
gives me a chance to tell them of Him and I am backed
up by two in the band who have been Christians one
at Yachow, one at Ning Uen Fu. They know of Well-
wood's death in France and seem to regret it.
Wednesday, ? January. Thought was to have night's
rest but man sent out to see said soldiers were coming,
so at ten o'clock started and traveled till three A. M.
Froze trying to sleep till six. On again till seven.
Stopped for day in saddle of mountains with guards
out. Starting again at four going till six and are to
sleep till moon comes up. Had awful round with them
last night. Must get two hours' sleep, if possible, so
Thursday, 4 January. Rested till midnight. On till
four A. M. Stopped in rain till seven, then on till ten
and stopping in rain on mountain now. Had awful
spell of blues this morning. Wrote Flo to go on home
to America, but doubt if they will mail the card. They
want everything in Chinese. I think they wrote some-
thing in Chinese this morning, and signed my name,
but am not sure.
Friday, p January. Yesterday afternoon prayed for
grace to try to do these people good and preached to
them. There are several whom I am beginning to
like. Six have come to me privately and want me to
take them with me when I am let go. Came down
mountain at dark and stopped at temple for two hours,
then on for another hour to a village and stopped till
daylight. Came on for an hour and have stopped here
on the mountain till now noon.
218 SHELTON OF TIBET
Tne captain says that whether or not things are ar-
ranged he is going to give orders that me and mine are
always to be protected by his men. They have a great
deal of which to complain. They said they are going
to give me a mule and two guns when I go (if ever).
Saturday, 10 January. Yesterday afternoon at three
o'clock one of their men came in and said that seven
companies of soldiers were coming, so we went very
fast till dark along road on top of ridge. Could see
where Lu Long was. They robbed many people on
their way to market. I felt so sorry for them. At
dark descending into valley came to large village. Peo-
ple very scared and made to do bidding of the men at
muzzle of guns. Rested till ten p. M. then on till three
A. M. over the worst roads yet. Wish I could die with-
out committing suicide. Perhaps they will solve it for
me soon. It is now nine A. M. Came to village. All
the people ran away. I am nearly finished. They live
almost entirely on opium when under strain. Slept two
hours in field. Nearly froze. One mule went over a
I dared not think. This was word that came into
my mind, "Fear not, I am with thee." I don't know
what the Lord wants to accomplish through me, but not
my will but Thine be done, O God.
Noon. They have just had the headman of the vil-
lage tied up to kill, but finally let him off on his promise
of help in the future. When they tried to lead him
out he held back and they stuck a knife in his leg. I
am getting cooties, but the captain won't let me stop
and wash my clothes as they never know what minute
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 219
they may have to go. They think they see soldiers
coming now. I attended a very sick woman here.
Sunday, n January. A week yesterday since I was
captured and still no word, though the Catholic priest,
so they say, promised word by last night. Perhaps it
is because we have gone back toward Talifu so far.
Left the village at four p. M. Came up the moun-
tain for two hours and stayed all night among the trees
with guards about. On this morning to this cove in
the mountains, where we've been resting for an hour
now at noon. We've turned almost due south. Don't
know how long it will last.
Monday, 12 January, Daylight. Came on yesterday
till afternoon to this village, which is theirs. Gambled
and talked all night and getting ready to start on road.
Letter came at dark from colonel of soldiers, telling
them that they would be allowed to submit to Govern-
ment. They want six things granted over the govern-
ment seal before releasing me. ( I ) Pardon for all past
offenses. (2) Restoration to citizenship. (3) Rein-
statement of soldiers. (4) Release of head man's fam-
ily- (5) Two hundred rifles. (6) Twenty thousand
cartridges. Killed twenty-five chickens yesterday after-
noon and small pig.
At least twenty have come and want to be my ser-
vants now. I've had a great increase in popularity
since the letter came. Many of them when they come
around near me want to show off and sing, "Do re mi,"
"Jesus loves me," and many other hymns.
All ready to go at daylight but for some reason
changed mind at last minute, so stayed here. Killed
pig, and for want of something to do the Captain asked
220 SHELTON OF TIBET
me to teach him the "a b c's." Best boy in company
won twenty dollars yesterday and it was stolen during
the night. They are just a big bunch of thieves even
among themselves. The captain came to me and wanted
to know if I would take him for my son.
Tuesday, 13 January. Dark. Nothing written since
yesterday noon. Ready to go on yesterday afternoon,
when another letter came. It was dark by the time it
was answered, so stayed another night. Traveled all
day to-day in southwest direction. People run from
every village. Stopped here just now at dark. They
are making for some place to get $5,000. They had
word from Tali of our coming. The secretary for the
bunch, Gu, must have one and one half ounces of opium
every day. It was pitiful to see the women of the vil-
lage with their little bound feet carrying their babies
and trying to run away. I had hoped for a letter yes-
terday, but none came.
Wednesday, 14 January. Last night one of the men
insulted a woman. The captain called him up and was
ready to spank him, but finally let him off with five
dollars fine, with the ruling that in the future for like
offenses not only the man but his sergeant would be
spanked. The men caroused all night. No sleep. Up
at three A. M. for breakfast, then slept till six, then on
to this town, Fa Paio Gai. Everyone had run away.
Men are forbidden to go on street. This is gun mar-
ket firelocks they bought twelve. I'm awfully itchy.
Washed my clothes night before last, but the men never
wash and are covered with them, and it is impossible
to keep them off. Captain gave me seven dollars to
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 221
use. Bought fifty cents worth of rock candy and fifty
cents worth of crude sugar.
Fed mule all he'd eat. Captain can say a b c's and
count to ten and ask what things are. Thought I'd get
a letter, but none yet. I think the captain is perhaps a
little stricter because I am along. I have nothing the
last few days of which to complain in treatment. They
live the best they can living like hunted animals. They
have great hope of getting pardon as part of price for
me. I told them I hoped the Government would not
buy my release, as it would set a bad precedent and they
would be catching other foreigners.
A letter just came at dark from Flo and French
consul. Seven days on the road. The men are jubilant.
Think they have things in their own hands now, but
will be reasonable I think. They have lived like wild
beasts long enough. And they have a competence in
opium. Two hundred loads worth $5,000 per load,
so they say. I am very thankful to Father Bailly and
the French consul for their help. They have been ex-
Thursday, 15 January. Dark. Can't see. Traveled
all day in northeast direction. We crossed river at
dinner time. Robbed man of three mules when we
stopped for dinner. Camping out on mountain to-
night. They say we are going back. Some of the
men don't want to fix things up, but most of them do.
If things are fixed up, officers will get all money for
opium and men very little. I'm glad Flo and the chil-
dren are safe. They promised last night to let me go
as soon as Yang's family is turned over to them. Man
left with letters for capital this morning.
222 SHELTON OF TIBET
Friday, 16 January. Two weeks to-morrow. Cap-
tain bought bracelet last night for fifty dollars, and
gave me for Flo as a present. Stopping near village
for dinner. All people have run away. Could see
them going far up the mountain-side. The men would
call out to hurry up or they would get away. Then
they would run the faster. They took from gardens
vegetables for one hundred men, and this morning,
they took an average of five stalks of sugar cane each.
The most I've counted lately in the band is one hundred
and four. Counted ninety-six last night.
Saturday, if January. Two weeks to-day! Oh,
well We are at the copper mines. The people
here are in with this bunch. Yesterday a man came
along whom they took for a spy. They tied him up
and brought him along. Also tied up one of their own
men for robbing an old woman and scaring her badly.
My poor old mule is all in. He may pay for my being
caught, but I can do nothing more. I care for him as
well as I can, but yesterday was sixty days without
rest carrying not less than two hundred pounds all the
time. I don't know what to do. They say that in two
more days he can rest, but
Noon. The advance guard ran all the people out of
one place and robbed an old man. The captain cannot
govern his men at all and they do about as they please.
They told the people here they were guards of a big
foreign official and the headman of the place came and
kotowed to me. This greatly amused the men. The
old man would not believe me when I told him I was a
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 223
We don't seem to be getting anywhere, as the old
man says we are still two days from Lao Ya Gwan.
Sunday, 18 January. Stopped on mountain all night.
Very cold. Sick and vomiting all night. Man with
letter in this morning. Said Government offered $20,-
ooo in my stead and it was refused. Captain said it
was a good thing I was not a Chinaman, or I'd have
been let go and the money taken.
The man tied up yesterday is a spy, sure enough,
but the captain says they will not kill him, as negotia-
tions are pending. I gave captain notice that the next
man I heard talking nasty about my family I would
smash, regardless of consequences. Stopping now in
woods to answer letter. They say we can arrive at
Catholic place to-morrow. Man just been telling me
his troubles. Wants to quit and go home, but they
won't let him. We've been camping here since ten this
morning, and I've been rereading as a whole all of
Paul's letters. There were giants in those days. What
a wonderful man, and what stimulation to emulation!
There are at least ten men in this bunch in earnest
in wanting to quit this life and lead decent lives. Quite
a few are kept in by force. The man they have been
waiting for has just come in bringing letters. What
the import is I do not yet know.
They say we are to stay the night here, so I've spread
my saddlepads on the ground and am ready to turn in.
Monday, ip January. Stayed again all night on
the mountain. Came on this morning to Min Shao
Chang and are staying in large temple. They are after
a rich man for $2,000. Sent him word last night to
have it ready. He ran off, so they are threatening to
224 SHELTON OF TIBET
burn his house. Had a bath and clothes washed. The
days go by and nothing accomplished.
Tuesday, 20 January. Say we will get back to where
Catholic priest lives to-day. They worked all night
trying to get $2,000 or get hold of man. Have done
neither yet. Yang, their chief, sent letter yesterday
asking me to stay with them and offering as much as
$6,000 a year. I should get mail when we get to Cath-
Ten minutes after I wrote the above the agent of
the man they were trying to get money from brought
word that soldiers were coming. True or not no one
knows as yet. Anyway, we got off in twenty minutes
and have traveled five hours hard, and, contrary to ex-
pectations, are waiting on the mountain back of the
Catholic place. They have asked priest to come up.
They have just been torturing man who brought word
of soldiers. Prepared him for execution, etc. The
most he would agree to last night was $500, but they
wanted $2,000. Don't know whether Catholic will
come up or not. At least the man should bring some
mail back. This Chinese business is liable to run on
into months. There are beautiful rhododendrons in
bloom here. I think they are the kind that Wilson, the
botanist, named for Flo and put in the Kew Gardens
Had my mule shot last night. Feel fine after bath
and clean clothes. My chapter this morning was eighth
of Romans, especially verses 35-39. Amen.
Wednesday, 21 January. The Catholic priest had
gone to Lao Ya Gwan, so we came on across the valley
to the temple where we were two weeks ago. The
MOWING THE GRAIN IN THE BATANG FIELDS
ALL THRESHING IS DONE WITH FI AILS ON
TOP OF THE HOUSE
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 225
people ran like rabbits before a pack of hounds. The
captain came through the village with a Colt Automatic
in one hand and Mauser Automatic in the other.
The Catholic priest came to the temple about eleven
p. M. Stayed and talked terms till about one-thirty
A. M. It is going to be hard to settle, as they think they
have the upper hand and are going to keep it.
Father Bailly is a kindly old man of sixty or over.
Has been here thirty years. . Said he would come up
this evening. The soldiers we heard of are after three
companies who mutinied and killed their officers for
lack of pay. Same story as these men. The men are
very much afraid and we may take to the mountains
any minute. Catholic says Yang's family left capital
yesterday. If so should reach here to-morrow some
time. The temple service is very nice. Have two per
day, morning and evening.
The man they brought yesterday is still tied up and
they are pressing him for the $2,000 again this morn-
The priest came again this evening and tried in every
way in his power to get them to let me go. No use.
They have the upper hand and expect to keep it. The
man I thought was Captain Li is Yang, the chief,
himself, but for some reasons prefers to go by the
title of Li Lao Pai. They are going back on their
promise to let me go when Yang's family arrives at the
capitol to-morrow, but it cannot be helped. The priest
and French consul have done all in their power and I
am more than indebted to them. The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want. Good night.
Thursday, 22 January. This morning another letter
226 SHELTON OF TIBET
came from Flo and Dorris. Dorothy is better, thank
God. The list of things lost came. Got Andru's flint
and steel back.
The chief himself came in this morning with great
roll of bills. Said he wanted to hire me for a year at
$1,000 per month, six months' pay in advance and other
six months at end of six months, me to be let off to
take my family to the coast and then come back. The
Catholic priest says they are immensely rich. Dealing
out opium this morning. Five to ten ounces per man.
They say that one member of the family, a son, has
not been sent and they are demanding him this morn-
ing. Won't let me go, for they say the minute I am
off their hands the Government will send soldiers
against them, so it is plain I shall be here till every-
thing is finally settled.
I called captain in last night and asked him to unbind
the man they had had tied up for forty-eight hours,
so he could lie down and he did chaining him to a
man during the night. They say he is to be killed to-
Night. He was not executed and this has been a
good day. Letter saying Dorothy was better and letter
from Dorris which I was very glad to get. My bed-
ding and clothes came. Have had a bath. A new shirt
from Ula and though still a prisoner and likely to be
one for some time, am in good spirits.
The Catholic priest came again. He is a fine man.
He goes for the Chief's family to-morrow and men
come to begin negotiations. It will take some days. I
thank God for all His goodness to me and hope that
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 227
this will be the means of saving some hundreds of
Friday, 23 January. Noon. It was good to have
bedding once more. Priest has gone for the Chief's
family to-day. To-night tried to write some letters,
but had no pen and ink. The best lieutenant in the
5unch was smoking opium. I asked him why a young
man of his ability wanted to smoke. His reply was
pitiful. "It keeps me from wanting to see my wife and
Night. The Catholic priest came again and asked
them to turn me over to him, as their people had been
put into his hands. They are like all Chinese, don't
want to keep their part of the bargain. They finally
promised to take me down to-morrow, but I don't think
they will. They intend to keep firm hold on me till
they get what they want. I begged the Catholic priest
not to humiliate himself farther by begging for what
they had promised, but to drop their case and let them
do as they pleased. I am under debt enough to him and
the French consul without having them humiliated at
the hand of this bunch. If they keep their promise to-
morrow they will probably be helped, but if not they
will probably take to the hills again with me in tow.
Saturday, 24 January. The priest's hair and beard
turned white in fifteen days. His dog was true. His
friend was not. Last night they discussed among them-
selves the advisability of killing me. Would it get the
Government into any great trouble? Also discussed
the possibility of capturing the French consul and de-
manding 10,000 guns as his ransom. They are desper-
ate. Will go to any extreme. Flo and the babies are
228 SHELTON OF TIBET
safe, so the worst they can do is to kill me. They
don't much wish to do so, but if it would answer their
purpose would not hesitate to do so. What they don't
understand is why I'm not scared. They can't make
it out. This evening priest came again, same thing
over. I'll be released only when and if their business
is fixed up, anything else is hopeless. Three weeks
Sunday, 2$ January. Letters in. Night. Called be-
fore day. We are to stop at the Catholic place, break-
fast. They say we are going to Lao Ya Gwan, where
we crossed the second night. Stop. Dinner over.
Came over mountain. Rode to here. About fifteen li
to Lao Ya Gwan. Tired out. Good night.
Monday, 26 January. Sick all night. Catholic priest
got government representatives to come to-day. Very
doubtful if much accomplished except getting them to-
gether. Not at all sanguine as to results. Still no bed
Tuesday, 27 January. Nothing done. Sick, dis-
couraged. Letters for them came, but don't know
what they were about.
Yang wants me to take his boy and educate him.
Could buy a wife for $100 he says.
Wednesday, 28 January. No sleep last night. Up
early and on road. Stopped here thirty li from Lao Ya
Gwan. Yang Hai Weu has been deputed by the cap-
tain to look after me, on my complaint of a man fol-
lowing me all around. Letter, but not from the con-
sul, to them. Don't know what. Letter from men in
Lao Ya Gwan. Don't know what. They've become
very secretive. Say they are sending three horses
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 229
back by these men. No bed or bedding yet or any
writing paper or anything else to read.
Thursday, 29 January. Bedding came last night.
Scrap with Gu. Men from Lao Ya Gwan, just gone.
Taking boys' bags and three horses for horse-man.
Men didn't mean to give up horses. Got diarrhoea and
am discouraged. Man following me again. Ran like
a deer. Couldn't find him. Fifty dollars fireworks
Friday, 30 January. Men bought bread and so forth
from the priest about midnight, also some forty guns.
Captain says I'll probably go back to-day, but not to be
believed till it is an accomplished fact, so I'm in no way
elated. About thirty per cent of these men are in by
force, so they say. One hundred men with guns joined
the force this morning. They are of those who re-
volted some two or three weeks ago. Still had on sol-
dier's clothes. Must change. Came back to where we
were a few days ago.
Letter has just come but don't know the import, but
nobody to talk matters over as they said.
Saturday, 31 January. Last day of January. Four
weeks have I been a prisoner. Not yet have I heard
one word as to whether U. S. has extended any help or
expect to. They hear that the representative of the
Government has left Yunnan. As to whether or not
it is true no one knows. I rather think that the coming
of the other one hundred men will complete matters
to a considerable degree. Put in a room full of lice
and a man uses my toothbrush. Priest came to see me,
but I couldn't see him. Sent a bottle of wine. Says
230 SHELTON OF TIBET
we go back to his place to-morrow. True or not no
Night. To-night I have just had a long talk with
Yang Tien Fu alone. At heart he wants to be right
and I believe that eventually he will be a power for
good. I told him that that would be my soul's most
earnest prayer and he said he was going to do right.
He took over formally to-day the one hundred men
from Sze Chuen. They are not of those who rebelled
lately, as I thought at first. Captain wants me to take
his boy and I'm going to do it for five years. His
father to pay all expenses. May the Lord bless what
I've said in His name. Amen.
Sunday, I February. If I were a young man I
would like more than anything else to go with these
men and be their pastor. It would be a great thing,
and it would be a great opportunity to do the Lord's
work. Oh, why wasn't I born a twin or triplets? It
is so good to speak a good word for Jesus Christ, and
especially so when the heart to whom you speak has a
longing to hear and to do right. This morning started
back to Mi Tsao. Traveled without stopping. Ex-
citement when they thought soldiers were coming after
Got a glass here. I'm a sight. Pulled two teeth. No
one will ever recognize me if I ever get back. Got them
hunting my clothes, so I can take a bath, but so far
at dark have failed to find them. They say that people
are coming to talk their affairs over day after to-
morrow. May or may not be true. Priest is not at
home. Still in Lao Ya Gwan. He has given his indi-
vidual attention to my case now for a month. How
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 231
can I ever repay him? The Lord is gracious. I trust
that my punishment may eventually result in a great
good. The people are also anxious that I stay, because
they say that if I were not with these people the rob-
bers would burn their houses where they stay. Soldiers
don't treat these people much, if any, better than these
people do. Took forty horses this morning.
Monday , 2 February. Got my clothes back. Had
good bath and sent dirty clothes out to be washed.
Priest came in this morning from Lao Ya Gwan, carry-
ing stuff from the government representative. He says
at most three or four days will mark the end, as the
affair is about fixed up. Went up to his place and had
coffee. His dogs came before I was up this morning
and wanted to get in bed with me. Took a picture of
the old gentleman this morning. I am at a perfect loss
to know how to repay his kindness. Yang is all dressed
up getting re-acquainted with his family. They are
bringing firecrackers, killing ten hogs, sheep, etc., to
celebrate the event with. Dark. Government men just
came bringing many hogs. They were suitably met by
soldiers and firecrackers. A month to-morrow.
Tuesday, j February. Priest sent a bottle of coffee
last night. To-night I told both sides I was going next
Monday. They have to kill me otherwise. Neither
side does a thing but sit and smoke opium, so I might
as well bring everything to a head. If they want to fix
things in that time they can, and if they don't it might
as well be soon as later.
Wednesday, 4 February. Things have been moving
since nine o'clock last night. At midnight the captain
came in, saying that he and the government men had
232 SHELTON OF TIBET
come to an agreement, if the Government would sanc-
This morning he let me move into the Catholic place,
but sent guard of ten men along. Government men
going back to-day. They sent for Bailly to go to Lao
Ya Gwan and get the consul to help them- to get the
Government to come to what they had agreed to. So
I am in the Catholic place alone with guard outside.
Had a long talk with priest on religious matters this
morning. Sent man with letters this morning by
Thursday, 5 February. Priest came back. Govern-
ment refuse conditions. Letters from Flo and consul.
Everything where it was in the beginning, not much
left of settlement now. Doesn't matter, they are des-
peradoes. All talking things over to-night.
Friday, 6 February. I saw in paper last night
Brother Rains is gone and has rest from his labors.
How well I remember when coming out a young man
he said, "Don't get discouraged, the Lord is not dead
yet." May he rest in peace. Letters asking priest to
come to Lao Ya Gwan. He has gone. Captain may
move us all to be near Lao Ya Gwan to-day. Don't
know. Everything is black now as night. Priest will
not dare to come back. They still have two days in
which to work. Mass this morning.
Night. The most miserable day yet. Sick all day.
I'm tired to death.
Saturday, 7 February. Letter from Flo came at dark
saying nothing but just to wait. Left at midnight.
Out through mountains again. Yang also took his
family. They are just concentrated evil. We are again
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 233
on the road toward Tsu Shang. The Lord only knows
what the end will be.
Sunday, 8 February. Traveling nearly all night
again last night. Clothes not off for two nights and
no bedding. Went to bed at daylight in straw stack.
Told them they could bring my belongings before I
would take another step. Soldiers coming so had to
go. From ten A. M. till eight P. M. hard. Got to place
thirty li from Lao Ya Gwan. Crossed their road about
five P. M. going north. Tired out. So tired couldn't
sleep. Informed that if they had to fight I'd be put in
front. Wish they'd get at it.
Monday, 9 February. Asked captain to shoot me
this morning and quit running around. Told him this
was day for me to go back or be killed. Says he is
taking me now to Wuting to turn me over to official
friend of his. Says will get there day after to-morrow.
It is now noon. Have been traveling all morning due
north. Seems Government is after them with lot of
Tuesday, 10 February. Since four p. M. yesterday
has been perfect nightmare. As we started after noon
some four men, kneeling and crying, crowded around.
They were the men who had been last week promised,
when they came, they could go when they liked. They
were refused, of course. I spoke to the whole two
hundred. A very seditious speech. Asked the captain
to stand all of us who wanted to go back against the
wall and shoot us. There are only two or three men
hindering everything, but sedition is working and un-
less they are careful they will go the way of the officials
who oppress their men. I know at least fifty who are
234. SHELTON OF TIBET
ready for resistance. They are tired of lawlessness.
I'm going to Won Ting. I've got dysentery and had
it for last thirteen days. It is getting worse. If some-
thing doesn't come off soon I'll fight Yang for leader-
ship of the band. I can command small half now. All
the better. He wants now to ask the Government for
their pardon. Of course I might get killed in the strug-
gle, but I'd like to help those who want to do right.
Yang himself would come were it not for Lii. He is
the devil of the bunch, and Yang lets him persuade him.
The tumor in my neck is growing rapidly. I can't
tell what it *s. "Lead kindly light amid the encircling
Wednesday, n February. Two men shot this morn-
ing. One who wanted to go back home. The other
because he came down near the road and cut one of
the men with an ax. He shot him then. Troubles are
over. Band got separated. Captain has gone to an-
other place. We are in Mao Gi, wherever that is. All
people have gone and we have taken possession. Per-
haps the two deaths were to intimidate me. Only one
likely, as the other must have been a madman.
Thursday, 12 February. Off at eleven p. M. for
three hours to where Yang was. Nearly dead. Found
out why Yang split the gang yesterday. His family
is gone this morning. He is smooth. We are at Long
Gi road. Have just written consul, Government, Flo
and babies. We are four days from the capital.
Friday, 75 February. Did nothing all day but write
long letter to Pa and Ma. Saw Andru's watch a while
ago and know who has it now.
Four-thirty p. M. Now I have just had dinner. Cap-
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 235
tain says if soldiers do not come will stay for answer
to letters. Man should arrive to-morrow at the capi-
tal sometime in morning. Hard rain last night and
wind. Thankful to be under shelter. Sixty to eighty
Saturday, 14 February. More patients. Wrote for
an hour or two. This is the home of many of the
men. Seven weeks to-day and still no prospect of re-
lease. O Lord, how long?
Sunday, 15 February. Insomnia getting worse and
worse. Didn't sleep a wink last night tiH after five this
morning. Been writing for an hour. Got sick and
vomited so that I had to quit. Five p. M. All of a sud-
den we are going after resting two days. Don't know
why. They expect to wait till to-morrow for answer
Monday, 16 February. I know I ought not to feel
so, but how I long for death! If only answers to let-
ters are what I prayed for then could I die happy.
Could a prayer of thirteen years be answered? Then
were God to be praised forever. We only came about
ten miles last night. They are paying off this morn-
ing. Brought me one hundred dollars but I did not
take it. Then they brought twenty dollars for me to
use for small things, which I took.
I nearly froze last night. They say we go to Le
Shun. Are about to start again, but nothing can be
done so close to new year.
Thursday, 17 February. Went about thirty li yes-
terday afternoon, so captain could get his family again.
Did not sleep a wink until after daylight this morning.
Left at ten A. M. and came back toward Long Gi. Then
236 SHELTON OF TIBET
on north to here, Haitsi. Still no letters yet at three
p. M. They have gotten two this morning-.
Wednesday, 18 February. At 5 P. M. soldiers came,
suddenly attacked. Fight till four A. M. Then for one
hundred li to near Yangste. Nearly tired to death.
Company soldiers compassed. Yang about steepest
mountain yet. They've given up hope of getting back
to civil life.
Thursday, 19 February. Harvesting, feast and
opium. Fine spring morning, but my heart is sick unto
death. I can see no hope ahead, but all things end
sometime. If my body were weaker it would die
quicker. Last day of old year.
Friday, 20 February. New Year's Day. Moved
twenty li yesterday. Were awfully afraid and prom-
ised to let me go to-morrow. I think to cheer me up.
New Year's night. It is rather a sorry New Year
away up here on the mountain, where they can get noth-
ing. I thank the Lord for all His mercies to me and
mine. My place of prayer is sweet. Of course it was
only another misrepresentation. They put my going
off another few days, which means it is absolutely in-
definite, if ever they did let me go. Would be glad of
the chance to shoot me.
Soldiers are following and are within twenty li, but
only one hundred men and less than three hundred
won't dare attack. They dragged me back to-day when
I started to walk. It is no use. I'm absolutely help-
less. May the Lord make His grace sufficient for me.
Saturday, 21 February. Seven weeks to-day. They
had another fight with the soldiers. Don't know yet
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 237
whether they lost any men or not, but each side used
enough ammunition to slay an army.
Ten p. M. Five wounded. One left to die, four
along. Been going fast due north till now. I have
done all I can for the wounded. One will die. Shot
through the breast.
Sunday, 22 February. Arrived here, banks of
Yangsti. At Tusa's place at four p. M. to-day. All I
can say in my desolation is, "Make Thy grace sufficient
for me, O God." It has been my prayer all day.
Monday, 23 February. It was reported that the sol-
diers were to catch up with us last night, but they
did not and we've come up on the mountain about one
mile and are waiting for them to come up so they can
have another fight. Bought me a pair of shoes but
they were too small. I couldn't sleep for pain in my
neck last night. The roughest man in our bunch came
in at midnight and gave me an orange. Very kind.
About fifty are gambling. They've just brought worst
wounded man up in whagan.
Five P. M. Still waiting on mountain. A man just
tried to kill himself with aconite, and nearly suc-
Tuesday, 24 February. Letter from Flo last night.
Answered this morning. They brought me down off
mountain and Shansi was here. Wrote another letter
and sent camera, diary, etc., back by him. Soldiers
beat badly man with him but say he can go back.
They have just started. Nearly froze last night on
mountain. Fifteen years to-day since Dad was at peace.
What a blessing.
Wednesday, 25 February. I am in the depths to-
238 SHELTON OF TIBET
day. God seems to be gone. We came only about
twenty li yesterday after Shensi left. The swelling
in my neck pounded awfully all night till I put a poul-
tice on it. It seems to involve the nerve, for all that
side of my head is numb and the pain goes down into
"What shall we say when hope is gone ?
Sail on and on and on, sail on."
"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
Thursday, 26 February. I thank God for all His
benefits. I cried like a baby last night. The pain was
great. I was sick and discouraged, but finally toward
morning I went to sleep in a dark hole with twelve
Chinese. The air was awful. This fat underdone
salt pork was more than I could go, so I'm fasting.
We came about sixty li yesterday. Almost parallel
with the river, but have not crossed it yet and are rest-
ing to-day, for which I am thankful. How I thank
God for the love of wife, children, parents, and friends.
God make me worthy of it. It is a beautiful morning
and I am sitting alone in a great cathedral of beautiful
pines and my mule is grazing near. If it were not for
him I should be gone. I am past walking but a very
little and my shoes are worn through. My feet on
the ground. I am having the remains of my under-
clothing scalded to-day for the best of reasons. It is
the first time in weeks that we've stopped long enough.
Nine P. M. Word has just come that the soldiers are
coming again, so we are off into the night. The Gov-
ernor is an awful double-faced fellow. "Carry on my
soul, carry on !"
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 239
Friday, 27 February. Too sick to write.
Saturday, 28 February. Same. Going south all day
Sunday, 29 February. Same, On mountain all
night. Turned west.
Monday, I March.
Tuesday, 2 March. The pain was so great that I
took a dose of opium last night. Opium dreams.
Waited all day on mountain, but soldiers did not come.
Don't know where we will go this morning if at all.
Didn't go anywhere but now just at dark word comes
that soldiers are coming from all around. Some two
thousand in all.
Thursday, 4 March. I've much to write, but don't
feel equal to it. I've been "cached" as yesterday was
about my finish. We started at two A. M. and trav-
eled hard till seven p. M. Sighted soldiers at five p. M.
They started on early this morning, but left me in this
village and I'm locked in a barn loft back over behind
all the hay, with three tribesmen who can't speak Chi-
nese to look after me. If the soldiers only knew where
I am! They took my mule, glasses, and gun. I'll
write more this afternoon if I can. How thankful I
am to God for this day of rest.
Three p. M. I've just had one of my keepers up,
trying to make him understand that I want my clothes
washed in boiling water. I've been dozing nearly all
day, due to opium I had to take last night. Hope I
won't have to take it again if I can rest here a few
days, but this thing in my neck is very hard and is be-
coming very closely connected with the surrounding tis-
sues. It was free and movable at first, the pain dull
240 SHELTON OF TIBET
and constant, more of an ache. Is now mostly referred
to the back of the shoulder. A few days ago it was
in the mastoid process. As yet the tumor has given me
no inconvenience in swallowing. I thought at first
that it was a gland that was going to suppurate, but it
is about fifty days old and will come to no head.
Should it be cancer, its position will make it quickly
This position will become very confining shortly as
I can only sit up and that not very erect, for my head
hits the roo.f, but I am in nice clean rice straw. O,
how I thank God that wife and babies were let go!
This morning about two o'clock when they brought
me in here, the boy who has sort of been my care-
taker during the last two months (two months yes-
terday) came and crying kneeled down by my side,
and asked me to pray for him. The officer who has
been my jailer held my hands and cried also. These
are the only two who know where I was put. It is
getting too dark to see, as the only light I have is
a hole from which I asked my keeper to remove a
loose brick. Thanks be to God for all His mercies.
Friday, 5 March.
"Carry on, carry on.
Things never were looming so black
But show that you haven't a cowardly streak,
And though you're unlucky you never are weak.
Carry on ! Carry on !
Brace up for another attack.
It's looking like hell, but you never can tell :
Carry on, old man ! Carry on !"
DR. SHELTON. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON
HIS LAST JOURNEY TO BATANG
CAPTURED BY BANDITS
Saturday, 6 March. Another attack has come. On
Thursday night after they left me here in early morn-
ing they went to Toogu and took two C. I. M. mis-
sionaries. They have not come back for me yet. Yes-
terday I didn't do a thing but lie and rest. Last night
I slept well and sweated awfully. I am so sorry for
the wife of one of the men taken left alone with
small baby. The agony of the father I know. Un-
derneath them all may there be the everlasting arms.
One of their students on his way back to school stopped
here to see me. He went back home. He was a very
nice fellow. Two or three men are planning to get
me to the capital in few days if Yang goes very far
away without taking me. But it is useless. He has
his men watching. However, I am very thankful for
these few days of rest in this hole in the straw. If I
only had a complete Bible instead of just the Testa-
ment and a small book of hymns. The psalms would
be great for to-day. I read the great series of parables
in Luke this morning.
Great opium country. Thousands of fields. Fifty
cents per ounce. Attempt of keeper to get what money
I have. Conference one A. M. about getting rid of me.
Keeper went to Toogu to see about turning me over to
mission there. When he got there the mission had
been taken. Say this place Tang Laii is five days from
capital. Nine weeks to-day. Make Thy grace suffi-
cient from day to day, O God ! And O God, be very
near those of Toogu those names I do not know.
Sunday, 7 March. Since I have stopped traveling
the pain is bearable, but very constant and aggravating.
It was difficult to sleep last night. If I were turned
242 SHELTON OF TIBET
loose I couldn't do anything. I couldn't walk a mile.
If I could only eat I might get a little strength. It
appears that God did not want me to go inside to
Lassa. It looks as if the end of my work was at
hand. I hoped to accomplish so much, only to wind
up in a hole like this. Thy ways, O God, are past all
finding out, but help me to say, "Not my will but Thine
Yang Tienfu: Physically a man above the average
height for a Chinaman. Dark, pleasant face when in
good humor and smiling, but smile turns to a wolfish
snarl when he is angry. Has great self-control. Is
all muscle and can outwalk any of his men. Is tire-
less. Can lie down and sleep for ten minutes, even in
extreme danger. Trusts no one but sees to all precau-
tions, himself. Absolutely without a heart. His God
is Yang Tienfu. Does not care for money. He is
often the only man in the bunch without any. Gam-
bles it away, or gives it away in handfuls when he has
it on him. Would sacrifice his dearest friend or own
family in a minute to advance his ends. A most dan-
gerous man. Cannot read. Has a man shot without
the quiver of an eyelash. Absolutely unscrupulous.
His ambition is to govern. Does not care a rap what
his men do so long as it does not interfere with what
he wants. Utterly bad in a most plausible way.
Monday, 8 March. I was wrong last night. The
pain last night was worse than it ever has been. I'm
awfully sorry, but had to take opium again as a conse-
quence. I am dopey to-day.
Yang seems to be making a stand in this neighbor-
hood, as he is still very near. Ten miles. He is
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 243
catching everyone in the neighborhood who has any
money and demanding from one to five thousand
I washed my head a while ago and shake like a leaf
when I stand up for five minutes. My, but it is hard
to swallow their food. I don't want to eat at all,
but force myself to eat a little. No one would ever
call me "Fatty" now. I think I haven't weighed so
little in twenty years. My possessions are now down
to what I have in my pockets. The only thing of
value left is my watch. Don't know why they did not
take it, unless they forgot it. They even took a box
of matches I had. I wonder what the next develop-
ment will be. All these people smoke opium, from the
old grandmother down to the boy twelve years old.
The old grandfather gave me quite a talk this morning
on the manifold benefits of opium. What a great
thing it is ! I wish I could talk Lisu, for the Chinese
here are just as the Chinese among the Tibetans the
"My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is
made perfect in weakness."
Tuesday, p March. An hour after the above was
written, the old man, my caretaker, came in crying,
and said that the soldiers were coming, and begged for
my protection. After waiting an hour, no soldiers
had come, but a man sent and asked me to come see
him. He was sent out by Uting to investigate the
doings at Toogu. The people who had me in charge
fled. Trying to get wagon. Walk to Toogu. Ar-
rive about midnight. Great kindness of Christians all
along way. People at Toogu fled. Sleep one and a
244 SHELTON OF TIBET
half hours. At 4:30 start for Mogoi. Arrive at
noon. Gowman said, "Thank Governor." Word
sent at once to capital. He has talk with Osgood.
Officials ask us to leave to-night. Finally decided to
wait till daylight. The last twenty-four hours is like
a nightmare. Thank God for all His wonderful good-
Thursday, n March. Started about eight A. M.
Met Osgood and Wuting official about ten. Awfully
glad to see Osgood, and came back to Langgoi where
I was a few days when with Yang. Official brought
chair, for which I was thankful, as it began raining al-
most at once. Going to Wuting to-morrow. Thanks
be to God for all His goodness. Word was sent on to
Wuting this afternoon.
Friday, 12 March. To-day has been long, hard day.
Stayed all night in the same room in which I stayed
several days. Soldiers. Old magistrate. Flowered
chair. Thornton, Smith, etc. Talk with Flo. Shaved.
Planning to start early to-morrow, and if possible
reach Yunnan Sunday night. Bless God from whom
all blessings flow.
Here the diary ends. He was with us once again,
but so broken, and in such pain. We went into the
French hospital, that had been turned over to us by
the French doctor and consul, and all four of us occu-
pied it together. A slight operation next morning
seemed to relieve the pain, but it was only a temporary
relief, and we must go home for the needed help.
Letters from Mr. Graham, in Yunnanfu, many
months later, said the mule was waiting for her master,
CAPTURED BY BANDITS 245
as the Chinese official had brought her into the city.
When the Doctor returned, they did meet. Poor
thing, she had been almost killed by the robber chief.
I wonder if she knew him. When they would be
resting on the journey toward Batang, and the Doc-
tor would sit down by her, she would lay her head
in his lap, and always nuzzle his pockets for sugar.
Then the puppy would get jealous, and up he would
climb to be on the master's lap as well, and if there
did not seem to be room, and the mule's head took all
the lap, he had no objection to sitting on her head.
Always she had carried him over mountains in cold
and in heat, through wild forest, over rugged paths,
where it was perilous to walk, and a misstep meant
death thousands of feet below; through rivers in
flood, across a chasm on a rope, with a roaring torrent
many hundreds of feet below, but the master followed;
sometimes swimming behind the skin coracle, when
a swift mountain stream was to be crossed. She, too,
had her part in bearing the message of mercy and aid
to the Tibetans. The Doctor said she should be pen-
sioned for the rest of her life, if she should ever reach
home again. I have written to the mission men to
shoot her, as I know he would rather that was done
than that she should be used as a beast of burden
We went on our way to the coast, and then home
again, reaching the United States.
Everywhere friends seemed raised up to do all that
could be done, and the result was recovery in part and
an intense desire to return once more to the Tibetans.
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD
EFFORTS IN THE UNITED STATES TO REGAIN HEALTH.
RETURN TO TIBET. .WITH LASSA AS HIS GOAL,
KILLED BY BANDITS NEAR BATANG
"These three things are hard to ex-
plain: a man suffering who has done no
wrong, a tree with no crime cut down in
the forest, a big river which has com-
mitted no evil and the bridge falling
down." TIBETAN PROVERB.
Lassa had always appealed to Dr. Shelton in its deso-
lateness, its ignorance, and its isolation. Whenever
he could he met the priests and the people from Lassa,
and asked about their customs, their ruler, and their
Before any man would become a lama with the high-
est degree of efficiency, he must make the journey to
Lassa, and by doing so, his sins were absolved for-
ever. Every Tibetan in his heart hopes to go some
day to Lassa. They tell of wonderful idols there;
one big one of solid gold, which, so the legend goes,
has a wonderful stone within it, and if one who is
ailing in the head or the knee or the foot prays to this
idol* the stone moves to the part which is afflicted, and
the worshiper is healed.
Lassa, the hill crowned; Lassa, the bigoted; Lassa,
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 247
the superstitious; Lassa, afraid because kept afraid;
full of filth and abominations. And why? The Tib-
etans say that the Lord Buddha's commands are like
those of our Master, and when the Tibetan teacher
was told that there were ten commandments, which,
if all men obeyed, there would be no sin upon the earth,
he said, "That is nothing; Buddha has thirty-one."
When asked if the two religions were the same, he
would say, "Yes, about." Then we would ask, "Who
takes care of the orphans?" and he would reply, "No-
body, for nobody wants them." When we asked,
"Who takes care of the sick?" he said, "Nobody; they
are left to die alone." When we would say, "Who
takes care of the old and the crippled and the help-
less?" he would say, "No one." Then we would ask
the question, "Just what is the difference?" and he
was forced to admit that there was a difference be-
cause the religion of Buddha makes you work out
your own salvation by laying up merit through the
things that you can do. Millions of prayers, sacrifice
to the gods, and you save yourself. Every man is
the reincarnation of some other soul, and if a man is
born a cripple, or blind, or afflicted, it is for some sin
committed in a former life. When a man died the
priests would forecast what he should become at his
rebirth ; it might be a cow, or a monkey, or a donkey ;
and when in Batang a very wicked man died, and they
saw a snake near his grave, they said that he had been
reborn a snake. The teacher said that from among
Buddha's disciples went six apostates who founded all
the other religions of the world, and that Jesus was
one of these.
248 SHELTON OF TIBET
The hope in Dr. Shelton's heart had always been
some day to reach the capital city, and found a hos-
pital there, where he could gve fifty young men a
simple training, teaching them cleanliness, to set a
broken limb, to give eye medicine, to lance an abscess,
and to tie up a cut or a wound in a cleanly way, for
among them, as has been pointed out in Chapter IX,
medicine is practically unknown.
Everything now seemed, from a human standpoint,
to be ready for Dr. Shelton to make his trial trip to
Lassa. Dr. Hardy was returning to take over the
care of the station, the girls and I were coming home,
and we would not be separated so long. All was
ready money, medicines, and supplies were waiting
at the coast ; he was going to take them back to Batang
when he left us at the coast.
Then came the disastrous experience with the Chinese
bandits, just two days from the railway, and he must
come home, worn in body, broken and ill, and an
operation on the neck necessary. His plan could not
be fulfilled. Strange does it seem that God was not
ready; was that it, or did He allow the devil to frus-
trate this plan because He had a bigger one? After
his illness, nothing could prevent him from returning ;
he must go back and take the two new missionary fam-
ilies who were ready. Perhaps he felt in his own
soul that he might not be well enough to live to return
to Tibet, and always he had meant his life to be given
for that land. I think in his heart he felt he would
not return to America. He had long talks with the
girls, bidding them stand steadfast to the simple truths,
for true greatness is simplicity. For many years we
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 249
had planned that we would go out together, and live
as long as we might be of use, and pass to the other
side among the people we both so loved in Tibet. It
seemed that all the dross was burned out in that drastic
experience among the robbers, and perhaps going back,
it would have been more than he could have borne to
be without his home and us.
That the door was open into Tibet, and they were
ready and willing to have us come, is clearly seen
by this letter of Dr. Shelton's in 1918 about the trip
described in Chapter XVII:
"I have spent three months inside the Tibetan lines,
and everywhere was tendered the greatest considera-
tion and kindness, and rendered every assistance pos-
sible by everyone, from the General of all the Tibetan
forces down to the humblest soldier. We have been
privileged in the last four months to make more prog-
ress with Lassa Tibetans than in the fifteen years
previous. Our prospects were never so bright in all
the years as they are to-day.
"Early in June, I was asked by the English consul
and the General in charge of all the Tibetan forces at
Chiamdo, to go to that place, if possible, on behalf of
the Tibetan and Chinese wounded. The Mission
having consented, I left June 6th for Chiamdo, taking
Mr. Bu, a former assistant, with me.
"Arriving at Janka, we were received by the Lassa
official stationed there, and every arrangement was
quickly made for our journey on to Chiamdo, where
we arrived in twelve days from the day we left Batang.
The General did everything in his power to make our
250 SHELTON OF TIBET
work effective, detailing a captain to attend to our
wants, with instructions to see that we were instantly
supplied with anything needed. The next morning
we were at work with an old door for an operating
table, and I operated on the worst cases I have ever
had, as long as I could stand up, for four days. At
the end of that time, the worst cases had all been at-
tended to, except two that were hopeless. The Gen-
eral did not wish me to operate upon them, feeling sure
that they might die during the operation, and that that
might cause some trouble. I was never treated better
anywhere. The Tibetans' attitude has entirely
changed toward foreigners in ten years. Some spoke
English, many were in English dress uniforms, and
the soldiers march to Scottish bagpipes. We stayed
ten days, and taught the Tibetan and Chinese doctors
how to dress the cases. On leaving, the General gave
each of my three assistants fifty rupees, and paid three
hundred rupees toward the expenses of the trip. We
made friends with the officials and the people. I was
mobbed in a friendly manner while distributing tracts,
because I couldn't hand them out fast enough. The
General would like us to establish a hospital at Chi-
amdo. The total expense of the trip was 624 rupees.
It was a great opportunity, and I took advantage of it
to the best of my ability, and pray the Lord to add
His blessing to the efforts put forth in His name.
"Last February I asked permission to itinerate for
two years. Since then I have been permitted to spend
three months with the Lassa folks, acting as middle-
man in the Chinese-Tibetan negotiations, and a month
at Chiamdo, doctoring the wounded on both sides. It
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 251
seems a providence that this great opportunity should
have come when it did. I have been able to make
many good friends among them. Do you know, they
are a mighty fine people, with all their prejudices
and their prejudices are fast crumbling. I certainly
enjoyed more than I can tell the opportunities pro-
vided, and the fine hospitality shown me. This was
at times very embarrassing. For instance, one day
the governor of Lower Kham sent over two. bags of
flour, two bags of tsamba, beans, barley, butter, six
sheep, rice, etc., and this not once only, but every few
days he would send something, such as a quarter of
beef, etc. I tried to decline, but it was no use. He
said when he came to Batang he would eat with me.
"At Chiamdo, the General was just as bad, and sent
for my three assistants and myself to come and eat
with him nearly every day. I met men from nearly
all over Tibet, so that I will be apt to meet friends
nearly every place I go. I am glad to say that it looks
now as if a treaty would be made between the Chinese
and Tibetans. If so, it will help greatly, but whether
it is or not, the door is open into the Tibetan lines any
time I can get to go.
"You do not know how thankful I am for these
opportunities, and yet I am scared to death when I
realize the responsibility of trying to present the Lord
aright. But the knowledge that the brethren at home
are praying for us helps mightily."
Never in all Dr. Shelton's missionary experience
and traveling had he gone on a journey without the
permission of the Chinese official in charge. When
252 SHELTON OF TIBET
President McLean, of the Missionary Society, warned
him to be careful, he wrote this paragraph :
"I know what you think about doing foolish things.
I agree that it is not well to foolishly run into danger
and needlessly expose life, and I do not propose to do
that. I love life better than most people. I glory in
it. But are the missionary's life and comfort more
precious than the Gospel which he carries? God for-
bid. If they are not, then it is his duty to take the
Gospel to the last man, even at the risk of his life."
I am sure he was just as careful this time as he
always had been.
But the time to return to Tibet came. The young
new missionaries were ready and they could not go
alone. A long fight he had to gain strength at all.
Suffering days and sleepless nights before he reached
home. The operation took place at Rochester, Minn.,
May, 1920. They hesitated long over that, and finally
thought it was cancer. He said, "I must know if it is a
cancer. I must go to work and send ten more men
out to take my place." But it was not that, and later
they called him back and told him it was the after-
effect of the flu, which he had had a year before. He
was always eager to return. I could not consent that
he go in six months as he so desired, and the Board
finally decided he might go in the fall, and he had to
be content with that.
Everybody was kind everywhere, and gave him the
needful things : warm clothing, tents, cooking utensils,
instruments for a new hospital which might be at
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 253
Lassa all this gladdened him wonderfully. The doc-
tors everywhere did many things for him, in Detroit,
in Rochester, in Pomona, and in Los Angeles, until he
felt strong, and ready to return.
I knew he was not well, and should have said, "You
must not go," but I could not. He would have been
a sorrowful and disappointed man, and believed that
he had fallen down on his job, and would have felt
that life had been a failure. I tried every way, but he
could only see the ideal in the completion of his life's
work. As I could not go all the way, I pleaded to go
part way and take the manuscripts for the new books
to India, as they needed them so badly everywhere on
the border. But it could not be done, the Board de-
Then Mr. and Mrs. Ackers, of Pomona, generously
made it possible, and we went. It was not easy to
leave the girls -we had never been separated but I
was going with him, and they were young and could
easily forget. A honeymoon it was, far happier than
the first one in 1903, for I was not homesick he was
my home. At Vancouver we met the church folks,
and they gave us such a good welcome and such a
royal good-by. In Japan the mission folk met us, and
such a lovely day they gave us. Then we forgot there
would be an end to that journey, and lived only each
day. But Shanghai came, and we had only a minute
on the wharf amid the crowds and coolies to say good-
by forever against my heart I felt the one great sob
a strong man gives, and he was gone, and I was alone,
to be always so until I can go and find him where he
will be waiting, a bit lonely without us for a while.
254 SHELTON OF TIBET
Then they went on to Hongkong, to Yunnanfu, and
then a race on that long fifty days' journey to get Mrs.
Duncan to Batang before the baby came. But all the
officials were most kind, and they reached Batang just
before Christmas. But he was lonely and miserable,
as I too was, in India. We had never been apart be-
fore at Christmas time. But how glad the natives
were to see him, and it was home again among them.
He had left all his own for love of them, and they
came to him with the tears rolling down their cheeks,
saying, "Oh, if you had only stayed with us, we would
not have had all this misery and trouble which has
come to us since you went away." Several letters
from the Doctor, which are given in the Appendix, tell
the details of this trip and his return.
He was putting his things in order, and expected to
go to Janka to spend the New Year with the Governor
of Kham, this friend in whose house he had stayed
for some months, when he was middleman for the
Chinese General; this man who had invited him and
the girls and MacLeod to visit him, who had sent for
a bagpiper to Chiamdo to entertain them while there.
This Governor had sent or written to MacLeod every
month after we left for some little thing or medicines
from Batang. To see him and spend the New Year
with him was the Doctor's plan, returning to Batang
to make the final plans for the journey in the spring,
when the snow was off the mountains. He had his
moving picture machine, and was going to take pictures
of the people. He had the National Geographic Mag-
azine, in which were their pictures he had taken before
going home. His heart was full of joy. He had new
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 255
things to show them and to tell them when he met the
messenger that said, "England has ordered the Dalai
Lama to keep all foreigners out of Tibet." The Tib-
etans are not diplomatic, they have not had sufficient
Occidental training, and they told the truth.
After going safely through the danger zone, be-
tween Batang and the edge of the land that is now
governed by Tibet, he met a messenger who carried a
letter from the Governor of Kham, saying: "Please
go back. England has sent orders direct to the Dalai
Lama that we must keep all foreigners out of Tibet,
and if you do not go back, he is afraid he will lose his
head." That was the strongest appeal they could
make to him, as they well knew he would do nothing
to endanger them. He wrote answering, "All right;
I will go back to Batang and stay there until I am per-
mitted to travel in your country." So he was forced
to turn back and traverse the strip of land three days
wide, where there is no law, and where robbers have
always been. It still seems strange that he alone was
the target, and no one else harmed in the least.
For the first time my heart had been at rest. He
was home in Batang and out of reach of the southern
Chinese bandits. No one could harm him there. The
two Americans who went in from Pekin and whom I
saw when there, said everyone was asking when Dr.
Shelton was coming back, and the people everywhere
they went seemed just waiting for his return. In the
city of Gartok, little, big, old, and young asked when
he was coming. They said, "We miss him so much,
and so many are sick and wounded, and there is no
one else to come."
256 SHELTON OF TIBET
His letter about the last few days of the journey
was full of thanksgiving and of the kindness of the
Chinese officials, as well as courtesy from the Tibetans.
Just one day I was at peace, and then they brought
me the telegram. I saw only the great black letters
for days, killed., and thought it could not be true. He
had been everywhere in that country, in the mountains
in all directions, with all kinds of robbers, up cliffs and
narrow roads where the mules could scarcely keep
their foothold, and had received no hurt. The Galon
Lama had been his friend, and invited him to come
again and again. In Chiamdo he had operated for
days. The Governor of Kham had entertained him in
his home, sending for a bagpipe to entertain him, as
that is their national instrument. He had also invited
the Ogdens to come and visit him before they came
home. What happened was not the Tibetans' fault
entirely, nor wholly the fault of the Chinese, that I
Yea, I should see it bigger, that I know. We three
are only three, and but a dot of The Plan, and should
his life be demanded for those who need and those
who have failed, I should be willing.
The busy hands were quiet; the great heart still.
Much love had gone out of the world for the Tibetans,
and again they must wait for the best life holds for
them. From the hills the call came, and he went, and
we who are left are bereft indeed. Is it wrong to say
that may this wounded side, wounded because of his
great love for them, bring, in some way that we just
now do not understand, greater things than he might
FURLOUGH AND RETURN TO FIELD 257
have done, and give to them all he dreamed of hope
and life everlasting?
Oh, Father, it must be Thy plan. We bow beneath
the cross, and try to say, "Thy will be done,"
A TRIBUTE BY EDGAR DEWITT JONES, D.D. 1
"The summer day is closed the sun is
Well they have done their office, those
The latest of whose train goes softly out
In the red west" BRYANT.
"It shall come to pass that at evening
time it shall be light." ZECHARIAH 14:7.
When Lady Frederick Cavendish saw Gladstone for
the first time after the terrible tidings had come of her
husband's murder in Phoenix Park, she said to the
Prime Minister : "Uncle William, you did right to send
him to Ireland." When this speech was repeated to
Dean Church, he remarked that no Roman or Floren-
tine lady ever said a more heroic thing. In the same
brave spirit and forgetfulness of self, we may well be-
lieve that Dr. Shelton's widow and the two fatherless
daughters were willing to say when the fateful message
came: "He did right when he went back to Tibet, and
1 Edgar DeWitt Jones, D.D., is the Minister of Central Christian
Church, Detroit, Michigan, whose special missionary Dr. Shelton
was throughout his Tibetan career.
THE AFTERGLOW 259
into the same peril from which he escaped so narrowly
two years ago." Of such fiber are the wives and chil-
dren of pioneer missionaries made. They do not live
in king's houses, nor do they wear soft raiment. Of
such strong faith and fortitude are a glorious company
who regard death in the line of duty as haloed with a
solemn yet splendid majesty. And as for him whose
life went out on that far field for Jesus' sake, to him
the noble words of St. Paul apply with singular appro-
"Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life
or by death. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."
Dickens, in a well-remembered passage, speaks of
that "old-fashioned death." Yes, death is old, so very
old, and likewise so very new. When death comes,
whether long expected or suddenly without any warn-
ing, it finds us unprepared for the shock. Yet there is
an added poignancy in the sudden passing from out
this realm of time and place of a dear friend or well-
loved kinsman. It comes when least we look for it.
We are busy with family or community affairs. We
are at the accustomed place of duty, at store or office
or home ; we are in the midst of the hum of conversa-
tion and everything is going on around us as usual.
Then the telephone rings or a telegraph messenger
appears, and, like a flash of lightning from clear skies,
it is borne in upon our consciousness that one has been
taken upon whom we leaned and whom we loved de-
votedly. We are dazed. We wonder why the sun still
shines, why the roar of the traffic persists, why anyone
260 SHELTON OF TIBET
is of a mind to laugh or play. Robert Browning knew
"Just when we're safest there's a sunset touch
A fancy from a flower bell, someone's death, .
A chorus-ending from Euripides
And that's enough for fifty hopes and fears.
As old and new at once as Nature's self."
In the afterglow of Dr. Shelton's life, we see clearly
the providential shapings of youthful years and observe
the myriad illustrations of the adage that "The child
is father of the man." Albert Shelton was but five
years of age when his parents moved to the state of
Kansas, and settled there on a farm. Farming in
Kansas was not then what it is now. There were hard-
ships to be met, and obstacles to overcome. While yet
a mere stripling, this boy battled with those long-time
enemies of the Kansas farmer blight and droughts,
failing crops, devastating storms, and a scarcity of
money. The boy lived much in the open a child of the
prairies, a brother to the wind and the sunflower. The
life was hard, but there were many compensations. The
boy chopped wood, drove oxen, rode horseback, dug
potatoes, hauled water, did anything and everything
that he could do, and did it well. Through a period of
several months he walked four miles each way to
school, and that eight-mile walk was to him not burden-
some but a joyous experience, a kind of high adventure.
"It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth."
At no other time of life does discipline count for so
much as when the mind is sensitive and the youthful
spirit plastic. When youth learns to love luxury and
THE AFTERGLOW 261
to enjoy ease there is little hope of building strong
character. The dash and romance of life are chilled
and given a distinct setback; initiative weakens and
"Not they who soar, but they who plod
Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
Are heroes ; they who higher fare,
And, flying, fan the upper air,
Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
May smile upon defeated care,
Not they who soar.
High up there are no thorns to prod,
Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
To turn the keenness of the share,
For flight is ever free and rare ;
But heroes they the soil who've trod,
Not they who soar !"
Dr. Shelton's missionary career falls into three
periods with two furloughs spent in the homeland. He
went out as an unknown and untried young doctor;
he returned to America a seasoned veteran, a veritable
pathfinder of the Lord. He was a doctor of the Jesus
School; he loved people men, women, and little chil-
dren, and he loved them regardless of their state,
condition, or race. Two days after his arrival in
Batang he performed a major operation, using a barn
door as an operating table. The fame of his healing
and the wonders of his surgery spread far and wide.
The sick and the injured for miles around were brought
to him and he healed many of them. He traveled
thousands of miles on mule back. He welcomed the
hardships and inconveniences as he had the difficulties
262 SHELTON OF TIBET
which beset him in youth. He went everywhere doing
good. He and his wife established a Christian home
and reared a family among the people whom he had
come so far to save. That of itself is a tremendous
factor in the Christian conquest of a primitive people.
He helped the people to live in a more decent and
comfortable manner. He taught them that cleanliness
is a part of godliness. He was the first man to take a
bathtub into Tibet; he introduced alfalfa there. On
his return from his first furlough in America, he took
an organ with him, the first one ever carried into that
country. He believed that music had charms to soothe
the Tibetan breast and he proved it. He constructed
at Batang a hospital with provision for fifty patients
and capable of caring for as many more. This hos-
pital is of itself a monument of the man's trust, his
industry, his foresight.
Dr. Shelton was a missionary of the pioneer type, a
pathfinder, a blazer of paths "where highways never
ran." As with Livingstone, so with Shelton, it was
"anywhere if forward." He chafed under restraint;
he despised "marking time." The goal of his life was
to penetrate Lassa, the sacred capital of Tibet, where
no missionary of the Cross had yet set foot. It was
his ambition to enter that city, establish a hospital and
do medical work, and the way was open at last. Per-
mission had been granted him to visit Lassa, and the
privilege was accorded him by the Dalai Lama, the
political and religious ruler of the nation. Dr. Shel-
ton's courage and persistence won for him this distinc-
tion. This doctor of the school of Jesus Christ was
gentle and tender, t>ut withal brave as a lion. There
THE AFTERGLOW 263
was a dash and a daring about him. He took chances
and ran risks for the Gospel's sake. There was a kind
of spiritual audacity in his nature, and the willingness
to take a great risk for the sake of the greatest of
The two words that best describe the character of
Dr. Shelton are sincerity and ruggedness. He was a
plain and blunt man, in whom there was no guile.
There were no frills about him, no millinery, no "put-
on," and he was far removed from austerity. He had
a lively sense of humor; he enjoyed a good story and
his laugh was hearty and uproarious. When he re-
turned to America the last time he was a celebrity. The
newspaper reporters sought him out and gave him wide
publicity of the "front-page" character. His pictures
were featured in the great dailies of America. He
was hailed as a hero. Vast crowds heard him, and he
would have been lionized if he had permitted it. He
met this hardest of all tests successfully. He was the
same modest man; if anything shyer and more re-
served. In the finest sense of the word he was humble.
One who knew him for twenty years has penned this
noble eulogy: "Dr. Albert L. Shelton has been my
ideal of a Christlike man for more than twenty years.
If ever I have been a little doubtful about the prac-
ticability of the Golden Rule or some other teaching
of the Sermon on the Mount, my doubts have always
been scattered by the recollection of Shelton and his
work. Here was a man practicing to the full, with the
greatest naturalness, the very things I questioned any
man's power to do. Here was a man loving his
enemies freely, forgiving those who sought to harm
264 SHELTON OF TIBET
him in the most bitter and cruel way. Albert L. Shel-
ton was the man who, more than any other man I knew,
did the things Jesus did in the spirit in which Jesus did
them, fearlessly, heroically, successfully."
Another luminous quality in the life of this martyr
of the missionary field was his childlike faith. This
quality is fundamental, and it helps to account for cer-
tain heroic incidents of his life which could not be
explained otherwise. He believed God, and it was
reckoned to him not only for righteousness but for
patience, perseverance, and fortitude. Only a man of
triumphant trust could have met and overcome the
obstacles that were often in his path. Only a man who
walks by sheer and naked faith could have witnesse.d
the death of Dr. Loftis and ministered to him in his
hours of suffering; seen him close his eyes in death,
prepared him for burial, and then, resolute of heart,
taken up again the twice heavy burden and marched
straight onward. Death of loved ones in the homeland
is hard enough, but death of friend, companion, and
fellow-worker "out where the world begins" is harder
still to bear and to understand. This doctor of the
Jesus School lived and died in a simple faith and trust
sublime. He has earned a place alongside of those
in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that "Westminster
Abbey of the Bible," wherein sleep the great dead of
For fifteen years Dr. Shelton was the "living link"
missionary of Central Christian Church, Detroit.
When the church undertook this new obligation, it
entered upon an era of enlarged vision. Dr. Shelton's
influence upon the congregation, especially after they
THE AFTERGLOW 265
had come to know him personally, was something more
than an influence it was a potent and ennobling spirit-
ual experience. It is doubtful if any missionary ever
meant more to the home Church than A. L. Shelton
meant to Central's congregation. This relationship
was, of course, deepened, enriched, and intensified after
his return, following his release by Chinese bandits.
For two successive observances of Children's Day he
was a guest of honor, and the event was rightly named
"Shelton Day." Vividly do I recall what happened
when the announcement was first made in the church
school that Dr. Shelton, but lately released from the
bandits who held him for ransom, would be present on
Children's Day. The atmosphere was electric. The
interest was intense. The children and even adults
were excited. There was a thrill of expectancy ob-
servable. One more than saw it, he felt it. The chil-
dren had been hearing of Dr. Shelton for weeks and
months; his name was often on the superintendent's
lips, much in prayer, frequently in announcements.
Then Dr. Shelton came, and with wondering eyes the
children looked upon him. They saw not "a plaster
saint" nor a conceited celebrity, but a big man with a
boyish spirit and a great heart. He was so human, so
big, so gentle, so kind, they all loved him from the first
and stood in awe of him not at all.
Dr. Shelton spoke twice on Sunday evenings in
Central Church on his work in Tibet. Great audiences
heard him. He spoke for an hour each time. His
style was unique. He was not a finished orator; he
gave little thought to the form in which he clothed
his thoughts. There was much humor in his speeches,
266 SHELTON OF TIBET
but there was very much more there was an earnest-
ness, a passion that was apostolic, a zeal that was burn-
ing, so that the man was truly eloquent although he
never tried to be. He stood here before us with the
marks of Jesus on his face and neck. The witness
he had borne for Christ in Tibet he bore branded in his
body. No wonder that the offerings of this church
for world missions appreciably increased. A class of
young men, all wage earners, contributed $700, and
everyone who heard Dr. Shelton was moved to have
some part in Christianizing Tibet.
There was a time when Central Church could claim
Dr. Shelton in a special sense, a time when during his
furlough we all but monopolized him. But that time
has passed, never to return. With the happenings of
the recent years, his rugged figure has loomed larger
and still larger upon a wider horizon. We have been
obliged to learn that difficult lesson which John the
Baptist mastered when he said of Jesus "He must in-
crease, but I must decrease." All our churches claim
this great missionary now, and rightfully so, for in one
way or another they too have entered into the glorious
legacy he has bequeathed his communion. And not
only the churches of the Disciples of Christ, but all
Protestantism hails Shelton of Tibet as of that "thin
red line" of martyrs of the Cross. In truth, all Chris-
tendom claims this intrepid missionary, regardless of
sect, creed, or race. It is ever thus; servants and
saviors of humanity make all men their debtors. In a
remarkable speech on "The Effect of the Death of
Lincoln," Henry Ward Beecher said: "Four years ago,
O Illinois, we took from your midst an untried man,
THE AFTERGLOW 267
and from among the people. We return him to you a
mighty conqueror. Not thine any more, but the na-
tion's ; not ours, but the world's." So it is with Central
Church and our one-time minister in Tibet. Not ours
any longer, but Christendom's ; not Christendom's only,
but the world's. He belongs in that glorious company
whose names are linked forever with the lands for
which they gave their all : Livingstone of Africa, Jud-
son of Burma, Morrison of China, Carey of India,
Paton of the New Hebrides among these in letters
of light is Shelton of Tibet.
Dr. Shelton's heart was in Tibet. The best of his
years were spent there ; was it not fitting that he should
die there ? Once he was my guest at a hotel in Detroit.
We sat fronting the windows in a room on the eighth
floor, from which we had a fine view of the city. The
Doctor gazed out over the roofs of the houses, a far-
away look in his eyes. Off to our left there rose
majestically two lofty skyscrapers, and the panorama
of the downtown district spread out before our eyes.
I thought I heard something like a sigh escape from
my guest's lips, and I remarked to him that perhaps
his triumphant journey across the country with great
crowds to hear him everywhere was more of a burden
than a boon. He laughed, said a witty thing or two,
and then with a certain wistfulness in his manner he
added: "I'm dead tired of it all; I am aching to get
back to Tibet. I am needed more there than I am here.
I can't say I am at home here ; I know I am there." He
made a little gesture with his hand when he said that
a gesture toward the east. Ah, it was not the roofs of
the city, the great skyscrapers, the downtown district
268 SHELTON OF TIBET
the pride of Detroit. It was the "roof of the world,"
his own Tibet, that was in his mind and on his heart
that day. What was a twenty-five-story building to a
man who had lived for years among the stars with
Dr. Shelton has not died in vain be sure of that !
Fruitful as was his life, his death is bound to be more
fruitful still. No man's life is seen at its highest and
best until death enables us to appraise it from the
truest perspective. "Except a grain of wheat fall into
the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it
die, it beareth much fruit." It is a melancholy fact
that, despite the power of Dr. Shelton's message and
ministry throughout America during his last visit here,
it was difficult to find young men and women willing to
follow in his steps. He was not able to take back with
him, as he had hoped and prayed that he might, a
competent medical assistant. But what the influence
of his life, great as it was, could not do, the influence
of his death shall accomplish. Lo, the first fruits of
his supreme sacrifice are already in evidence !
It has been my privilege to witness at first hand the
effect of both the life and death of this martyr on the
congregation of which he was the missionary and pas-
tor in foreign lands, and what I have seen and felt has
made me know, as I could not know hitherto, the
potency of a missionary's death in the line of duty.
When the news that he had been killed by bandits
reached us, it stunned us at first. We simply could not
believe that it was true. We expected another cable
saying he was alive. Some mistake had been made.
THE AFTERGLOW 269
But, alas! it was true he whom we loved had been
slain ! Then silence fell upon us all. We found speech
difficult. Gradually the people found themselves, and
out of that stressful period there emerged a series of
incidents such as I shall never forget all attesting to
the fact that the price of a life given for others is never
A middle-aged man of the congregation, and un-
married, one who had found a great delight in Dr.
Shelton's work, a man of inventive genius and a
mechanical turn of mind, came to see me. He said:
"Do you think at my age and without a college educa-
tion, with just what gifts I have, by any possibility
they would send me to Tibet to work with my hands to
build houses, plow fields, do anything to carry on Dr.
A little girl, one who had clasped the hand of Dr.
Shelton when he was last with us, and walked with him
the length of our church auditorium that little girl
sought me out. She was broken-hearted, her grief
could have not been greater if her own brother had
died. She said: "Do you think I could do anything
to help carry on Dr. Shelton's work? If I prayed every
night for Tibet, and if I saved my nickels and dimes,
do you think a little girl like me could help Dr. Shel-
ton's work and save it from loss?"
A freshman in the University of Michigan, taking
his first year of pre-medic course, sent word to the
president of the Young Men's Progressive Class : "I
am going to fit myself for a medical career in Tibet
and carry on Dr. Shelton's work." A few weeks later
this young man spoke from the pulpit, making an im-
270 SHELTON OF TIBET
pressive plea for volunteers to follow in the footsteps
of Shelton of Tibet, and four young people responded
to the appeal.
A group of Chinese Christians in Detroit sent a
lovely bouquet on the day of the memorial service,
and with the flowers was a card on which was this
inscription : "For Dr. Shelton from his Chinese
friends in Detroit." The fact that one of their own
race had slain this big gentle man of mercy was a
source of grief to these young men; they deplored it
solemnly and in deepest contrition. That the bandits
killed the Doctor not intentionally, but mistook him
for a military officer seeking their capture, had not
then been established.
Then came a certain prayer meeting where it seemed
as though the spirit of Dr. Shelton brooded over us
all in prayer, in song, in speeches. At the close of a
series of prayers there arose a man of singular spiritual
life, deep devotion, and wide acquaintance with the
Scriptures. He quoted this text : "In the year King
Uzziah died I also saw the Lord." He spoke of the
crisis that had come in the life of the young man
Isaiah, his admiration for the king, and the shock of
the king's death; that out of that rugged experience
the young man caught a new vision of God and was
obedient to that vision. Then he instanced the tragic
death of Dr. Shelton in Tibet, and impressively asked
what we intended to do as a church in order to have
fellowship with one who gave his all for Jesus' sake
and the Tibetan people. "Let it be said of us," he
pleaded, "that in the year Dr. Shelton died Central
Church saw the Lord."
THE AFTERGLOW 271
So much for Central Church and the effects of Dr.
Shelton's death upon the congregation. Look now
upon the wider fields, white unto harvest in the after-
glow of his heroic years in Tibet and his tragic death
there on February 17, 1922. All-over America among
the churches, because of Shelton's death at the post of
duty, there is more serious thinking, more fervency of
spirit, more consecration, more willingness to follow
whithersoever the Christ leadeth. In a college church
during the memorial service twenty-eight young people,
amid impressive scenes, dedicated their lives to Christ
and whatsoever service He might call them to. Of
this number, one was the son of a man who made
application for work in Tibet at the same time Dr.
Shelton did and was examined by the Board's physician
the same day. Numerous young people from church
homes who had hitherto shown a strange indifference
to the ministry or the missionary field have felt stirring
within them new life purposes. Letters have poured
into the headquarters of our mission boards from par-
ents with such statements as these :
"When the news of the death of Dr. Shelton came,
my son said : 'That's Christianity. I'd like to follow
in his steps. I believe I'll prepare for the missionary
"When our daughter learned that Dr. Shelton had
been killed by bandits, a new life purpose came into
her heart. She said: 'I want to go to some needy
place where Christ's Gospel is unknown.' "
"The news of Dr. Shelton's death has profoundly
affected our home. It has made conversation upon
religious topics easy. It has revived a flagging zeal in
272 SHELTON OF TIBET
church work among our children. One of our boys is
determined to be a medical missionary/'
"Is there a place for me in Tibet, Japan, China, any-
where? If so, here I am. Send me!"
A fine young couple in the College of Missions at
Indianapolis who had originally purposed to go to
Tibet, but had changed their plans and were preparing
for service in Japan, heard again the call of Tibet
rising clear and distinct above all other fields. Thus,
almost overnight, the hardest missionary, field in the
world became the most alluring, and all because a man
had laid down his life in the name of Jesus Christ for
the sake not only of his friends but also of those who
fired the fatal shot.
Offerings for missionary purposes show the effect of
Dr. Shelton's death. Purse strings have been loosened,
safe-deposit boxes opened, bank accounts diminished,
and generous pledges made by persons heretofore not
known as givers to missionary causes. Despite the
financial depression of 1922 and other difficulties and
obstacles in the way of increased offerings, that year
was the best financially the United Christian Mission-
ary Society has ever known. Why? The answer is at
hand. It is not a mystery. These larger offerings for
missions and particularly for Tibet are a direct result
of Dr. Shelton's death. The Shelton Memorial Fund
of $100,000 is assured. Churches that seldom partici-
pate in such memorials are represented in this one.
Men and women whose indifference to the missionary
enterprise was marked have undergone a change of
heart, and all because it is still true that "the blood
of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
THE AFTERGLOW 273
One memorable afternoon I saw the sun set on Lake
Michigan from the beach at Pentwater. The day was
early in September and well-nigh perfect. As the sun
dipped low on the horizon it resembled a great ball of
fire surrounded by a massed formation of clouds, fan-
tastic and colorful in the extreme. Gradually the flam-
ing disc disappeared, while long rays of crimson edged
with orange were thrown upon the skies after the
fashion of a mammoth searchlight. These reddish
rays soon gave way to purplish clouds, and these in
turn to tints of pearl, opal, and pink. Then there fol-
lowed a golden glow which spread rapidly over the
heavens and of a beauty indescribable, so that shortly
when the twilight fell the heavens in the west were still
rosy, and a soft amber light suffused the skies. As I
watched the last faint streaks of color fade from the
heavens, I caught sight of the evening star, scintillating
above the horizon. Suddenly I became conscious of a
light back of me, and turning around I beheld the
moon just risen above the dark treetops far up the cliff
and bathing them in a soft silver radiance. Then the
day died, darkness deepened, and the light of stars
and moon became stronger and lovelier still.
I sat upon that beach enthralled with what I saw;
enraptured with a sense of wonder and the presence of
a great mystery. The afterglow of a great life is like
the afterglow of that perfect day, with other lights
emerging from out the gathering darkness and the
promise of a clear and fruitful to-morrow everywhere
We are in the afterglow of Dr. Shelton's life
now, and we see the glory and wonder of his career,
274 SHELTON OF TIBET
the pathos and the sacrifice of it as we never could see
it in the days when he was in the flesh. Only a few
are given the privilege of a martyr's death. Only a few
are permitted to fall on the battlefield while the sun is
still high in the heavens and the day is far from spent.
Dr. Shelton crowded into a life of forty-six years
an incredible ministry. He wrought a great work.
Though dead, he yet speaketh. He is of that glorious
company who, having washed their robes in the blood
of the Lamb, now serve Him day and night.
"They climbed the steep ascent of heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train."
LETTERS FROM DR. SHELTON ON HIS RE-
TURN JOURNEY TO BATANG
To Stephen J. Corey, Secretary United Christian Mis-
Yunnanfu, 50 October, ip2i.
DEAR BROTHER COREY:
Our long wait is over we start to-morrow for
Batang. Ogden arrives here Wednesday, going home.
All are well and in good spirits. The Morses and
Duncans are fine. It's a pleasure to be with such
folks. We've received only kindness at the hands of
all the folks here missionaries, business men, and
customs people. The rains are over now and we have
before us fifty-five days of the best weather of the
year in which to reach Batang for Christmas. We
hope our lives will be living witnesses for Him who
has been so good to us all the way. With love and
gratitude to you all in the office and to all our friends,
the influence of whose prayers we see and feel daily,
A. L. SHELTON.
To Mrs. Shelton.
YenJu, 1 6 December, '21.
We arrived here yesterday, after having traveled
along the Mekong for fifteen days in from Wei Shi
without having lost a single box or any serious accident
278 SHELTON OF TIBET
whatever. The Lord surely looked out for us. The
miracle of the trip is the chair-men not one ran away
and they are sure fine carriers. It has been a fine
trip and Ma Jisi met us about a mile out and has ar-
ranged horses for us clear through to Batang, an un-
heard of thing. He has surely made our paths
straight. We leave here to-morrow and will arrive
in Batang at noon, Dec. 23. I had to stop for a half
an hour, a lot of Batang people came in. We passed
Ashi-Gwatsengi's wife down near Likiang; she ran
off with U si Yea; they have a son. The Tigi finally
sent Gwatsengi away from Jang Ka because of opium.
The Shang Cheu people have captured the - Batang
Jisi. Things are in an awful mess, fiut no trouble
between Chinese and Lassa Tibetans. Haven't heard
yet whether Hardys have a boy or girl. Must quit
now, people are crowding in. I must attend to them.
Heart's love to you. I don't dare think I get sick
for you and Dorris and Dorothy.
To Dorris Shelton.
Nine days out of Yunnanfu.
MY BELOVED DORRIS:
I did not expect to get to answer your good letter
till we got to Dalifu, but here we are tied up for a
day just four days out of Tali, so I can write fine.
We passed yesterday the last place where we are liable
to meet robbers. It was a long, hard day we started
just at daylight in a heavy drizzle, which increased as
the day wore on to a steady downpour, and continued
all day without a moment's let-up. The chair-men
got so tired and about a dozen horses gave out. We
didn't get in till just dark, all soaked, but very
All your prayers for us are being answered daily,
and apparently nothing stands between us and Batang
now but the necessary time. All our goods 115
mules came through, too all in spite of the fact that
Yang Tien Fu's men expected to get me again. I saw
two of them in Yunnanfu; they saw me, too, but
hurried away. I wouldn't have been worried at all
had I been alone, but I hated to think of all these young
folks falling into their hands but they're all behind
now and a clear road in front of us. It rained all
night and is still raining now about noon. Every
horse and man was worn out, so we're resting to-day.
I will see Mr. Bu Sunday in Tali, and give yours and
Wen Da Ren (who wanted Daidee as his wife)
now is doctoring the soldiers. Yang Jisi is his secre-
tary and several other of the former officials of Batang
are living with him. I am meeting old friends all the
time, and I hear of nearly a hundred on farther, wait-
ing for me to come along and help them in all kinds of
Yes, Dorris, I do wish I could have you along. You
could help me a lot, and how, you would enjoy all our
old friends scattered everywhere and all asking for
you all the time. The best I can do is to show them
your picture and tell them that you are preparing to
come back. I've just been out sitting down by my old
mule, with little Jack in my lap, and the old mule laid
his head over in my lap, too, so little Jack crawled out
on top of his. The mule wanted to be scratched and
fed sugar. I fed both mules sugar (waertang),
and Jack wanted some too, so I fed him some also.
Mrs. Morse came along and saw us and called us "The
Three Friends." My new mule is mucli stronger than
the old one, and is getting just as gentle. If he car-
ries me till I have doctored and preached to as many
people as the old one has, I'll pension him too. I sus-
pect, though, that he will last longer than I will.
Dorris, I am proud of you and Dorothy and I know
you'll love and help each other, and help Grandpa and
Grandma and Miss Miller too, for they are doing all
280 SHELTON OF TIBET
they can to help while Mammy and I are away. They
have just as high ideals for you as we have, and I
know you will not do a thing that would hurt Jesus
in any way, for He has been so good to us all and led
us in such paths and given us such fine friends in
America, Tibet, and China in fact, all over the world
that you and I, Dorris, will never be able to do all
we would like to do for Him.
I saw what you wrote about that young man Mrs.
Cason told about, who lost his faith. It is awful that
teachers in college will spend time doing such things
but sometimes they do. If ever you get a class with
one of that kind, Dorris, don't waste your time at it
life is too short, take another class. Remember some
people get to worshiping their brains, but remember the
heart the Bible mentions the heart hundreds of times,
but so far as I know never the brain. There was a
man on the boat coming to China to preach philosophy ;
he didn't know what he believed. He said one day,
"O that I had spent my life as you have !" Have you
read a little book by Thomas a Kempis, called "The
Imitation of Christ" ? It is the one classic of the dark
ages. Get it make yourself a present of it. In the
third chapter there is something like this: "Why be
troubled and anxious over so many things the being
ignorant of which will not be against me in the Judg-
Now, Dorris, I want to hug you and kiss you. Give
my love to Dorothy, Grandpa, Grandma, and Miss
Miller. Remember me to your Endeavor Society and
all the young folks of Southern California I love
them all. Choose your friends from those of the
highest ideals. We owe so much to our friends.
Give my love to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and don't for-
get to pray for and write to a man who loves you
with his whole heart,
To several of Dr. Shelton's family.
Batang, 26 December, 1921.
DEAR DORRIS, DOROTHY, PA, MA AND DELLA :
We arrived here 23 December, so had Christmas
here yesterday. Everything went fine on the road.
It took us fifty-four days from Yunnanfu, and all dif-
ficulties disappeared as we got near to them. I
haven't begun to get tired yet, but will in a day or two
now, I suppose. I am living in our old house down
by the river and am going to get my own meals, or
rather Drashi is going to get them for me.
Christmas at the church had about four hundred
people, but they couldn't handle them very well. Dor-
ris and Dorothy, nearly all the girls cried when they
saw your pictures, and they asked how long it would
be before you could come back. I cried, too, I was
so lonesome for you all. I kept looking around for
you and Mammy all day. We all had dinner at Dr.
Hardy's and prayermeeting afterwards, but I couldn't
stand it, so I got up and left. Gon Chog Nejang Ong
Shu, etc., etc., are all grown men now; so are Delia
Eulan Tsiring-Behmu grown women. They have
moved the school to the new schoolhouse just below
the hospital. It is built just like the hospital. I am
going up to see the Tigi some time in January. Sev-
eral of the girls, when they saw Mrs. Morse, thought
it was you, Dorris.
I haven't had time to do anything since I got here.
At least fifty people put my hand on their heads and
cried and said, "O if you had been here all our houses
wouldn't be burned up." Batang is awfully poor now
and robbers all around. Wodren's baby is quite a big
baby now. Mrs. Hardy's new boy was born Nov. 30.
Drashi is sitting here cleaning a gun for me. It's
awfully lonesome being all alone and I must keep
moving to keep from getting homesick. I can't stand
282 SHELTON OF TIBET
it. I think yesterday was about the saddest day of
I love you all so much.
Remember me to all our friends who have been so
good to us, especially Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and
THE STORY OF DR. SHELTON'S DEATH,
TOLD IN LETTERS FROM THE FIELD
TIBETAN CHRISTIAN MISSION,
Batang, Via Atuntse, W. China.
17 February, 1922.
MR. STEPHEN J. COREY,
ST. Louis, MISSOURI.
DEAR MR. COREY:
Dr. Shelton left Batang for Gartok on the 1 5th inst.,
planning to see the Governor of Eastern Tibet and then
to return to Batang and make final plans for the trip
to Lhasa. At the end of the first stage south of here,
a letter came from the Governor asking that the Doc-
tor delay his visit, as permission to make the visit
must be obtained from the Galon Lama at Chiamdo.
So on the morning of the i6th Dr. Shelton started
back to Batang. At two P. M., when only about six
miles from Batang, the party was fired on by robbers.
Dr. Shelton was riding in front, and just as he rounded
a curve in the road the robbers opened fire. The first
shot hit the Doctor. The other members of the party,
the cook, the deposed Batang prince, and the Doctor's
Tibetan teacher, thought the Doctor had shot at a
rabbit, but as they came around the corner they saw
the Doctor in the road. A number of other shots
were fired, but the rest of the party were unhurt. The
robbers in due time sent down some of their men and
drove off most of the pack animals. (So far, I have
seen only one mule load not taken by the robbers.)
The Batang prince came on to Batang as soon as
284s SHELTON OF TIBET
he could and reported the matter to Mr. MacLeod.
His report was that Shelton had been wounded and
was unable to travel. He said that we must take a
stretcher on which to bring Shelton to Batang, and
that he wanted a tourniquet for Shelton's arm, which
was bleeding badly.
This report came in about four p. M V and I put few
things into my pocket; borrowed the Prince's horse,
and started at 4:23 for the place. MacLeod looked
after getting the stretcher-bearers, and followed me,
Morse and Duncan also going with the stretcher.
After hard riding for an hour I reached the Doctor,
who was then unconscious with no pulse, and showing
signs of severe hemorrhage. The bullet had entered
the outer condyle of the right elbow, had torn off the
inner condyle, and had entered the side about the level
of the elbow. Before loss of consciousness, the
Doctor took a hypo of morphine and strychnine and
improvised a tourniquet with his handkerchief and
riding whip. The men who remained with him
had done all they could to make him comfortable,
using saddle blankets for a bed, and were pre-
paring Doctor's cot to take him to Batang. I put
on the tourniquet, gave him some more strychnine, re-
dressed the wounds, and got under way for Batang
at six o'clock. We met the party from Batang about
a mile from the scene of the tragedy. The poles on
the cot gave some trouble at the top of the pass, and
after a couple of miles more Dr. Shelton complained
of the poles hurting his hips. So we changed him to
the hospital bed which we had rigged up on stout bam-
bo6 poles to use as a stretcher. During the last mile
he was in pain again and wanted to change his posi-
tion. Before we reached Batang more than fifty
(probably one hundred) people met us, to help carry
the stretcher or to light the way with pine torches.
We reached our home at 10:10 p. M. and the Doctor
was conscious and in pain. I gave him some morphine
and made a more careful examination of the wounds.
Once or twice after reaching home he wanted water
and asked to sit up. His condition was such that any-
thing more than applying temporary dressings, after
cleaning the wounds, was out of the question. (I
omitted telling you that Dr. Shelton, after he was shot,
swabbed the wounds with iodine.)
The turn for the worse came about midnight, and
at 12 148 A. M. Dr. Shelton answered the summons to
the higher life.
I have stated these facts at length. None of us can
express our feelings at this time.
The cause of the whole matter is the inability of the
Chinese officials to govern this part of the country.
I believe I am safe in saying that I have treated an
average of a case every two months, and more than
that number of men have been killed at this place. It
is within six or seven miles of Batang, but the officials
and soldiers roll another opium pill every time a fight
takes place on the pass and say it is too bad ! ! !
But, enough. We are starting a cable for America
at daylight, and this is to add to the sad news you
should receive days before this letter arrives.
Please try to express, to Dorris and Dorothy, the
Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, our deepest
sympathy in their loss, which is, though to a less ex-
tent, our loss also.
W. M. HARDY.
Report Concerning Dr. Sfolton's Death.
About two o'clock in the afternoon of February 16,
1922, Dr. A. L. Shelton of the Tibetan Christian Mis-
sion, was shot by highwaymen at a place about 20 li
south of Batang on the Chinese highway from Batang
to Lhasa; and died on Feb. i7th at 12 148 A. M., from
the effects of the wound inflicted by the highwaymen
286 SHELTON OP TIBET
at the above-mentioned place. The following are the
particulars regarding his departure from Batang and
On February i3th Dr. Shelton sent his card to the
yamen by Gezang Wangdu, who notified the secretary
of the Chinese Magistrate that Dr. Shelton would
leave early in the morning of February I5th for Gar-
tok (Janka). On Feb. I4th, Dr. Shelton went
personally to the yamen and requested escort for his
proposed journey. On the morning of February I5th,
between 8:30 and 9 o'clock, Dr. Shelton left Batang.
He had gone about a half mile when he was over-
taken by two unarmed soldiers from the yamen, who
presented their credentials as his official escort. Dr.
Shelton remonstrated at their being unarmed, but pro-
ceeded with them unarmed and arrived at Drubalong
(Dru Wa Nong) a little before sunset on the same
day, Feb. I5th.
At Drubalong (Dru Wa Nong), he was met by a
messenger with a letter from the Governor of Mar
Kham province. This letter was later taken by the
highwaymen, but Gezongongdii read the letter and
reports the contents as follows, "I have heard that
you intend entering Tibet. An order has come from
the Galon Lama forbidding me to permit foreigners
to enter Tibet, unless they first state their business to
the Galon Lama and get his permission. Please write
the Galon Lama and get his permission. Please do
not come until you do so."
The messenger urged Dr. Shelton to return to
Batang, declaring that the order in the Governor's let-
ter had come from England to the Dalai Lama, and
from him to the Galon Lama, and from him to the
Governor of Mar Kham province ; and that the Gover-
nor of Mar Kham province might be executed if Shel-
ton entered Tibet.
Dr. Sihelton gave the Governor's messenger a letter
containing the following reply: "My purpose in com-
ing to Gartok is to pay a friendly visit to yourself.
If I am not permitted to do that, I shall remain in
Batang. Perhaps by this time my servant has arrived
in Gartok. Please help him on the way to Batang."
On the morning of February i6th, Dr. Shelton left
Drubalong (Dru Wa Nong) for Batang. At a point
about twenty li from Batang, the road in winding
along the side of a cliff, turns sharply to the east,
forming a right angle. The cliff rises almost perpen-
dicular from the road to the height of about twenty
feet; so that going around the bend is very much like
going around the corner of a house. Dr. Shelton and
his party were riding along in the following order:
first, Dr. Shelton; second, and unarmed, a Chinese
escort ; third, a friend of Dr. Shelton named Gwei Tsen
Chi; fourth, Dr. Shelton's cook; fifth, Dr. Shelton's
interpreter, Gezongongdii. The report that the
yamen escort was riding in front is not true. They
were riding one after the other in close order. Dr.
Shelton's baggage was about five hundred yards be-
hind the party. Just as Dr. Shelton turned the corner,
he was shot without any warning by a highwayman,
who was crouching, behind a thorn bush on the north
side of the cliff and above the road. That first shot
was a signal for a volley from the highwaymen, who
were concealed in shrubbery immediately above the
cliff. Everybody except Dr. Shelton, who had fallen
from his mule to the road, sought the shelter afforded
by the lower side of the road. Here they were kept
under cover by the rifle fire of the part of the robber
band that was stationed above the cliff, while another
part of the robber band drove off Dr. Shelton's mules
and loads, which were about five hundred yards to the
rear. As soon as Dr. Shelton's party got under
shelter, they opened fire on the robbers. All had fire-
arms except the yamen escort, and Gezongongdii
gave him an automatic pistol. When the robbers re-
treated he tried to walk, but could not ; then they put
288 SHELTON OF TIBET
him on his mule and proceeded towards Batang, at the
same time sending Gwei Tsen Chi on ahead to report
to the missionaries in Batang. Dr. Shelton could ride
only about a mile. Then they took him from his mule
and prepared a stretcher. At that point Dr. Hardy
met him. Dr. Hardy's report is as follows :
"It was a little after four p. M. when the Prince
(Gwei Tsen Chi) arrived in Batang and delivered his
message to Mr. MacLeod, who came up to my place
and told me. I got some first aid dressings and a
rubber bandage, borrowed the Prince's horse and
started out while Mr. MacLeod got a stretcher and
carriers and followed on foot. I made good time to
the top of the Sa Swei San pass, reaching there in
forty minutes (five P. M.), but going down was much
slower, and I did not find Dr. Shelton until 5 125. He
was unconscious. . The bullet had entered the right
arm, just above the elbow, and ranged downward.
The wound of entrance was about the size of a nickel.
The bone was shattered and the wound exit could not
be covered by my hand. Then the bullet entered the
abdomen in the axillary line at about the level of the
elbow, making a wound larger than a dollar. I put
on fresh dressings and replaced the handkerchief tour-
niquet with the rubber one. We put Dr. Shelton on a
cot and started for Batang at six p. M. Once while
we were there, Dr. Shelton opened his eyes and an-
swering me, said he was feeling all right. Once or
twice on the way, he was conscious and complained of
pain. We reached Batang at 10:10 P. M. His con-
dition was such that I dared do nothing more than
change the dressings after washing the wounds ex-
ternally. Twice he was in pain and insisted on mor-
phine to relieve it. At 12:48 A. M., February I7th,
he passed away."
"W. M. HARDY."
AMERICAN CONSULAR SERVICE,
Chungking, China, March 29, 1922.
MRS. A. L. SHELTON,
381 N. GIBBS STREET,
MY DEAR MRS. SHELTON:
It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of
the tragic death of your husband at Batang on Feb-
ruary 17, 1922. According to a telegram received
at this office on March 3, 1922, from Dr. W. M.
Hardy, Dr. Shelton was shot by bandits near Batang
on February 16, 1922, and died in Batang on the early
morning of February 17, 1922. Due to the difficuU
ties of communication I have not as yet been able to
find out much about this sad occurrence but no doubt
Dr. Hardy has already written to you.
Dr. Shelton's original registration did not have
your address, so I sent Dr. Hardy a telegram asking
for this nearly a month ago, but have not received a
reply as yet. I am just now in receipt of your hus-
band's application for re-registration which states that
you are now residing at the above address. This ap-
plication was dated January 25, 1922, and has taken
all this time to get here.
There are certain formalities of the law to be com-
plied with connection with your husband's estate, and
I have written to Dr. Hardy to take charge of his
belongings as he no doubt would have anyway
until the formalities can be complied with. Will
you please inform this office whether or not Dr. Shel-
ton left a will? I would also be glad to know your
wishes in regard to that portion of the estate in Batang.
I did not have the pleasure of knowing Dr. Shelton
personally, but I have the greatest admiration for the
work he was doing, and from what I hear the loss
of his family is shared by all the Chinese and Tibetans
with whom he came in contact, not to mention his fel-
290 SHELTON OF TIBET
low countrymen and other foreigners in this country.
The news, contained in a brief telegram, was a great
shock and I have heard many expressions of sympathy
from all sides, American, British, and Chinese alike.
I regret exceedingly the sad necessity for this letter
and if this office can be of any service to you, please
do not fail to say so. Assuring you and your daugh-
ters of my heartfelt sympathy, I am,
Very respectfully yours,
N. F. ALLMAN,
Vice Consul in Charge.
A Masonic Funeral in China.
A letter from Brother W. M. Hardy, Batang, China,
to Norman of Nashville, Tennessee, tells of the mur-
der of Dr. A. L. Shelton, a Scottish Rite Mason, who
received the degrees in Wichita, Kansas, several years
ago. This brother was killed on February 16, about
seven miles from Batang.
In that far-away land, where perhaps a Masonic
lodge was never heard of, the question of the manner
of his burial concerned the few Masons who were
there. It was decided to have some kind of a Masonic
service at the grave, there being a great number of the
natives present, so Brother Morse read a service from
the Tennessee Craftsman, and the native evangelist
interpreted the service to the Chinese and Tibetans
present. The Chinese have a proverb which says,
"The pine and cedar never die," and this was used in
explaining the evergreen that had been put in the grave.
"After it was all over, and I was going over the
sad events of the day," says Brother Hardy, "I noticed
a peculiar thing about this, the first Masonic funeral
service ever held in Batang. The numbers three, five,
and seven were connected with the service as follows :
Three languages were used, English, Chinese and Tib-
etan; five nationalities were present, American, Brit-
ish, French (the French Catholics have a priest here),
Chinese and Tibetans; seven men took part in the
service. These seven were Mr. Duncan, who had
charge of the English service; the native pastor, who
conducted the services in Chinese and Tibetan; the
assistant pastor, who led in prayer; the Chinese
teacher, who read the scripture, and the Tibetan
teacher, who read from the Tibetan Scripture ; another
Chinese teacher who read a memorial address and
resolutions of sympathy drafted by Chinese friends
of Dr. Shelton, and Mr. Morse, who conducted the
service at the grave."
Batang, 22 February, 1922.
DEAR DORRIS AND DOROTHY :
This letter will find you very sad and heart broken,
but I feel that I must write you. Not that I can com-
fort you no man can do that but that I may tell you
some things that I would like you to know. Your
good father was like a big brother to me, and I know
how dear he was to you, because he showed me the
precious and exceedingly good letters that you wrote
him. These letters he reread many times. They were
among his goods that were taken by the robbers. He
was taking them as company to Gartok.
Since your father came to Batang, all of us have
been as kind and good to him as we possibly could be,
for he was very dear to us all. He was regaining his
former health rapidly; and was always cheerful and
in good spirits.
On the morning of the i5th inst., he started to Gar-
tok to make preparations for his trip to Lassa. When
he reached Drubalong, he met a messenger from the
Teji who asked him to write to the Galon Lama for
permission to enter Tibet; because all foreigners en-
tering Tibet now must first state what their business
is to some one of the high officials. On receiving the
292 SHELTON OF TIBET
Teji's letter, your father wrote a reply; and returned
to Batang. On the way back about six miles from
Batang, a short distance on the other side of Kuila,
while he, his cook, Gweitsenchi and Gezangwangdu
were turning a bend in the road, someone fired from
ambush, and hit your father as he came around the
turn in the road. Gezangwangdu and the others were
a little behind and could not see on account of the bend
in the road. They heard the shot, rushed on, and
found your father lying in the road. He was able to
dress the wounds and take some medicine. Then he
sent Gweitsenchi on to Batang to notify us. We went
at once; but were too late to be of any use. We
reached Batang at 10:10 and your father "went home"
at 12 48. When conscious he was in great pain, and
did not talk much except to ask for water, and to pray
to God for help. We could not help him ; and so God
took him to be with himself, where there is no pain,
The funeral service was held on Saturday the I7th.
There was a very large crowd, and the service was
sad, but beautiful. We fixed everything as beautiful
as we could. The church members sent two scrolls
which we are keeping to send to you.
We made a list of all your father's goods and you
will receive the list shortly. There are some things
that your father got for you, a paper knife and a lot
of Tibetan rings. These and other things that you
wish to have,. I shall be so glad to bring to you when I
go home on furlough in 1924, perhaps sooner. Please
don't be timid in asking me to do anything for you.
If you want some Tibetan things, just let me know.
I am so glad that you are such good girls. Your
father will be so proud of you when we all get home.
Esther joins me in every good wish.
Very sincerely yours,
RODERICK A. MACLEOD.
Batang, 25 February, 1922.
DEAR MRS.. SHELTON :
On the nineteenth of the first month Dr. Shelton
and I left for Gartok. At Druwanong we met a mes-
senger from the Geji with a letter which said that he
must not come to Gartok now. On the way from Dru-
wanong robbers shot Dr. Shelton. You know all
about that now, so I shall say nothing about it.
You and Dr. Shelton were like a mother and father
to me, and helped me so much. A great sorrow has
come to you and your two daughters. Please try and
not worry, or you will become ill. Try and make
If you come to Yunnanfu or anywhere and you
want me to help you please let me know. I am sure
that Dr. Shelton is at peace now. Every morning and
evening I think of him. I pray for the three of you,
Dorris and Dorothy and yourself, morning and eve-
ning that you may be happy and well.
Your loving son,
Batang, W. China, 21 February, 1922.
DEAR MRS. SHELTON:
I do not know just what I am going to say, or just
how I will say it. My heart is too full, but I will try
to tell you as best as I can, about Dr. Shelton's leaving
us. I am going to tell you the things the way I should
want you to tell me if you were in my place, and I
wish there was some way in which I could help you
bear this sorrow, but I know it is impossible. Only,
as you know you have our love at this time and also
the assurance that we did everything we could for
Doctor, but human help was useless, and only God
knows His purposes.
Doctor left here Wednesday morning for Gartok.
Just before he left he came into our house, he had left
294 SHELTON OF TIBET
his mule tied to our gate and while he was down to
MacLeods the children had tied a valentine on his
saddle, and when he found it he came up "To kiss the
one who did it," he said, but they had gone on to
Morses and Duncans. We knew there were robbers
down at Sa Sheu Shan, but didn't think a great deal
about it as they had never shown any disposition to
molest a foreigner and as Doctor had notified the
yamen we supposed he had proper escort. That night
we said, "Well Dr. Shelton has gotten over the pass
all right or we would have heard something."
The next day, Mrs. MacLeod and the Duncans were
at our house for tea, when Mr. MacLeod came rush-
ing up the steps and said "I have bad news. Dr.
Shelton was coming back and the robbers have shot
and wounded him." Gway Sen Gi brought the news.
He said Doctor was shot in the arm and leg and wanted
a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Will got a few
first aids together and getting on Gway Sen Gi's horse
went as fast as he could and reached Dr. Shelton in
a little over an hour, as he was quite a way the
other side of the pass. When Will reached him he
had swabbed out his wounds with iodine, had made a
tourniquet with his whip and a handkerchief and had
taken some morphine and strychnine, but was uncon-
scious. Will got him on a stretcher and started for
Batang, meeting Mr. MacLeod, Morse, and Duncan
with a better stretcher in a few minutes. Will left
the scene of the tragedy with him at six o'clock and
they arrived at our house at 10:20. Fully a hundred
people went out from iBatang to help carry the
stretcher and light the way with pine torches. After
they got here he was in a good deal of pain, so Will
only did what he could temporarily for wounds and
gave him something to relieve the pain. Instead of
being wounded in the leg the bullet had gone through
his elbow and into the abdomen, and at 12 148 A. M. he
When Dr. Shelton reached Dru-ba-long he received
a letter from the Tigi asking him his business, and
also asking him to wait until the Galon Lama should
give him permission to cross the border, so Doctor
sent him a letter and was returning to Batang to wait
for his answer. With Doctor was Gway Sen Gi, his
cook, and Gezongongdii. Dr. Shelton was riding
ahead and the very first shot the robbers fired hit him.
When Gezongongdii heard the shooting and saw
what it was he began yelling to them that it was a
foreigner. A great many more shots were fired, but
no one else was hit. About ten of the robbers came
down and drove off four of the Doctor's loads, but
didn't take any of the riding animals.
Friday we buried him beside Dr. Loftis and made
the same kind of a grave. We had the funeral in our
front yard. Gway Gwang preached, a beautiful ser-
mon in both Chinese and Tibetan, and numbers of the
Batang people who knew and loved him were here.
Gway Gwang especially mentioned you and Dorris and
Dorothy. They sang "There Is a Happy Land" and
"Sweet By and By." The coffin was draped in the
Chinese and American flags. Mr. Duncan led a short
prayer service for the foreigners, just before the
At the cemetery Mr. Morse read the Masonic Com-
mittal service and Gway Gwang prayed and the Chris-
tians sang. I forgot to telf you that besides the four
foreign men, Gezongongdu, Sam den, and Andru
were with him, when he left us, and all his old servants
helped carry him to his last resting place.
We don't know why this had to be and all we can
say is, His will be done, and feel that the Tibetan rob-
bers were more merciful than the Chinese robbers
under Yang Tien Fu.
We sent telegrams to the Legation in Peking also
to the Consul in Chungking, and to the Board at home,
asking them to tell Dorris and Dorothy and his father
296 SHELTON OF TIBET
and mother. Also a telegram was sent to the China
Mission and to Mr. Graham at Yunnanfu.
Will wrote a letter giving the details of the accident
to Mr. S. J. Corey.
If there is anything we can do for you or the girls
please let us know. We all loved Doctor and we love
you, and want to help you all we can, so write us when
you are able and we will carry out any of your wishes
With a heart full of love and sympathy I am yours,
NINA P. HARDY.
Batang, 26 February, 1922.
DEAR MRS. SHELTON:
My heart goes out so to you and to Dorris and Dor-
othy at this time, that I must write to you, although
I have been thinking that perhaps I wouldn't, fearing
many letters might be too painful for you and that I
should wait a while. You can put my letter aside if
that is the case, and read it later.
It has been eleven days now since Dr. Shelton
stopped in to tell us good-by as he was starting, on a
Wednesday morning, for Gartok. I remember so
clearly the impression he made on me at that time.
He looked so fit for the road and for life in general.
He wore his big sheepskin-lined khaki coat, his cordu-
roy trousers with leather leggins and strong shoes and
big hat. He looked so large and handsome, and so
pleased to be starting out on a trip. His two dogs,
Jack and Spot, were with him. They and the two
children and Dr. Shelton had a romp together; he
talking to the pups and the children in the way he al-
ways did and that they always liked and understood.
Soon, he was off. The details of all that followed, you
know, so I shall not repeat.
When Dr. Shelton first came back, he seemed tired
and not very well, I suppose from the long trip in
which he had to manage for everybody, and that before
he had completely regained his strength after his
operation. But in the seven weeks or so, there was
such a change. He was feeling fine or at least he
seemed to be. He looked well, and he was so jolly
and, as always, the life of all our gatherings together.
We had him at our house as much as we could keep
him. He was always bragging on the food, especially
the milk and cream and fresh eggs, and we cooked so
many good dinners in his pressure cooker. Once,
Wangse made "hot-te-molies" according to his direc-
tion. I don't think he scarcely talked to any of us five
minutes without mentioning you and the girls. He
told us how well the girls were doing in school and of
Dorr is' s work with children, and about your camp ex-
periences with the young folks and even about your
nice, new clothes.
We had dinner with him the Sunday before he left,
at the Duncans. Mrs. Duncan opened a can from
M. W. & Co. marked tea and found in it not tea but
limburger cheese. We all thought that funny, of
course. Dr. Shelton thought it was fine and had a
lot of fun out of it, and he got the cheese, and thought
it the best he ever tasted. It was good. Mrs. Hardy
and I were the only others who would eat it. He told
us about the time you cleaned out Mrs. Ogden's cup-
board looking for something rotten, when he had left
the cheese in it.
A month or more ago, we decided that if our little
baby, whom we are expecting now in a few weeks,
were a boy, we would name him Shelton. Dr. Shelton
was pleased with the idea. He thought so much of
Duncan and Duncan would run excited and happy
to the door when he heard Dr. Shelton's voice. Of
course, he was that way with all the Batang babies. I
-am so glad we have the picture of him with them all.
I hope I have not been writing things that you would
not like to hear. I know that he wrote you often, so
that you know all about him since he has been in
298 SHELTON OF TIBET
Batang. But I thought that if it were me, I should
like to hear from some one who had seen him and loved
him, as we all do here, and as we love you all, and to
hear some things connected with his happy, energetic
When you can, will you write to us. We are all
sad and very anxious about you and the girls. If
there is anything here at all that we could do, which
would help you in any way, we would be so happy to
do it. ^With love and sympathy,
Batang, West China,
March 15, 1922.
MY DEAR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA SHELTON :
If only I could put my arms around you and talk
to you instead of writing! May our Master do this
for me ! We have been praying that God would com-
fort your aching hearts. I know that you will have
received the sad news before you get this. I expect
you will have already received the details of it all, too.
My dear ones, I am going to tell you some of the
things which have helped me and perhaps they will
help you. I just can't realize it even yet. It just
seems to me that he has gone off on his trip and will
soon be back. On Monday he ate dinner at our house
and was as jolly and happy as ever. That afternoon
we had the monthly mission business meeting at the
Hardy home. Afterwards we had tea and then played
tennis. That was the last that I saw of him before he
It seems to me that our dear Doctor was the center
of fun and the center of inspiration as well. He al-
ways made such good talks at our prayer meetings.
I was always so glad to hear him and received so much
help and inspiration from him. The people here love
him so very much.
They also say that is, the Christians, that his death
is the "seed of the Gospel in Tibet." One of the
scrolls which hung up during his funeral service read
thus : "He gave his life to save others." What more
could be said! I know it is very hard now. Oh, I
have thought of you so very much! I love you very
much. May Jesus Christ Himself comfort you both.
You have given and suffered much! Dear Doctor
gave up land, home, parents, wife and children
everything, that he might help to bring the world to
Jesus Christ. Our Master will reward him richly.
If he is with God, we have nothing to regret, so I
know you will rest in God.
"He careth for you. When thou passest through
the waters, I will be with thee ; and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee. I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee The eternal God is thy refuge and
underneath are the everlasting arms. As one whom
his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you."
With much love,
P. S. I have felt so very bad about this that it just
seemed I couldn't write to you. All of us here miss
him more than we can ever tell! It just seemed our
own father or brother had left us.
G. H. M.
DR. A. L. SHELTON, MARTYR FOR TIBET
From The World Call, May, 1922
In 1903 Dr. Albert Leroy Shelton and Mrs. Shelton
went forth as missionaries to Tibet under the Foreign
Christian Missionary Society. The challenge of that
far, closed land had come to them through Dr. Susie
C. Rijnhart who had lost both her baby and her hus-
band in Tibet. Two years later, Mr. and Mrs. J. C.
Ogden from Kentucky went out to reen force the mis-
sion. Probably the Ogdens and Sheltons would have
become good friends if thrown together anywhere, but
being alone together at the most remote mission station
in the world, made them comrades of the most intimate
sort. The men were more than brothers. Their de-
votion to each other was like that of David and
As Dr. Shelton returned to the field last fall with
Mr. and Mrs. Duncan and Mr. and Mrs. Morse and
their baby, the Ogdens were coming out for their sec-
ond furlough. The two parties met two days west
of Yunnanfu which is the end of the railroad line, and
right at the place where two years before, Chinese
bandits had captured Dr. Shelton. After one night
spent together and a farewell in which neither could
say a word, Shelton went on to Batang to get ready
for the long cherished journey to Lhasa, and the
Ogdens continued homeward.
After resting for a while in southern California, the
Ogdens started overland for headquarters in St. Louis
and their home in Kentucky. Sunday night, March 5,
they were in Raton, New Mexico, and slipped quietly
into the Christian Church without making themselves
known. In the course of his sermon, the minister,
John H. Swift, spoke of the death of Dr. Shelton.
At the close of the service Mr. Ogden asked him on
what authority he had made the statement and was
told that the death was reported in a Denver news-
paper. Confident that it was only a rumor and could
not be true, they continued their journey to. Garden
City, Kansas. There Mr. Ogden went to the telegraph
office to send a message to the United Society. When
the operator saw his signature, he asked him if he
had not been associated with Dr. Shelton in Tibet,
and then told him of the cablegram announcing the
murder of the latter by a band of robbers February
17. Overcome by the shock Ogden staggered back
to the hotel and was not able to leave his bed for two
"He was my pal, my brother, my big chief. Know-
ing that he would have to take his life in his hands we
asked him to undertake the journey to Lhasa, because
no one else could do it so well. Any of us could have
been spared better than Shelton."
Immediately upon receipt of the cablegram report-
ing the murder of Dr. Shelton, the officers of the
United Christian Missionary Society gave the informa-
tion to the State Department at Washington, which
in turn, cabled the United States minister at Peking
to give the facts to the Chinese government and urge
them to use their utmost efforts to secure complete in-
formation and to bring those guilty of the murder to
TRIBUTES TO DR. SHELTON FROM FRIENDS
IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD
United Christian Missionary Society,
St. Louis, Missouri.
4 April, 1922.
MRS. A. L. SHELTON,
c/o S. S. Caledonia,
P & O LINE, LONDON.
MY DEAR MRS. SHELTON :
I am writing you this letter, hoping it will reach
you at the steamer as you land. How our hearts have
ached for you during these weeks since Dr. Shelton's
death ! Your many friends will be so anxious to see
you and their prayers have been constantly following
you as you have crossed the sea. The girls are bear-
ing up well and Mrs. Dye and the other friends have
been a great comfort to them in their loneliness. We
are very anxious to have you come to St. Louis and
see us as you pass through. As soon as you know
the boat on which you will sail from England to New
York, please cable me so that we can make arrange-
ments to have friends meet you there.
This blow is difficult to understand, but even through
this great sorrow and loss God will somehow work
out His providence for Tibet. The death of no mis-
sionary since the day of Livingstone has so moved
the Christian world as that of Dr. Shelton. If any
letters come giving the particulars in time for us to
forward them to London, we will get them to you. So
far we have no further word except a cable received
by our government from China, copy of which I am
enclosing. Mr. Ogden, who has been here, feels that
the Chinese official is trying to make the best case pos-
sible for himself, and that of course Dr. Shelton would
not have left Batang had he received orders not to do
so. Mr. Ogden feels that the death of Dr. Shelton
was in the nature of an accident, for even the robbers
would not have attacked him personally. It is a deep
satisfaction to know that since he had to go he was in
the hands of the missionaries at the hospital when the
I want you to know how the whole staff here at the
office has thought of you and how we have daily borne
your name to the Throne of Grace. May the everlast-
ing arms undergird you and the Unseen Friend be
your companion across the sea.
With affectionate regards, I am,
STEPHEN J. COREY.
United Christian Missionary, Society,
St. Louis, Missouri.
p March, 1922.
MlSSES DORRIS AND DOROTHY SHELTON,
381 N. GIBBS ST.,
DEAR DORRIS AND DOROTHY :
I have been away from the office for many days and
this is my first opportunity to write you. I believe
that I have thought of both of you every waking hour
since we learned of your father's death. I want you
to know how thousands of friends are praying for
you daily and expressing their love for you and your
mother in this difficult hour. We know that you are
trusting in God and believe that he will bring peace
into your hearts in the midst of your great sorrow.
304 SHELTON OF TIBET
I suppose there is no missionary since David Living-
stone who has been so widely known as your father.
People will be thinking of him all over the Christian
world and they will also be thinking of you and your
mother. Although your father's life has not been as
long as that of some, he has done more to bring the
Gospel of Christ to the world than many men have
done in a long lifetime. Even in his death which we
all mourn people will be inspired to give their lives
more freely for the Master and to take the Gospel
throughout the world, even into Tibet where he so
longed to take it.
We have received some beautiful messages here. I
am enclosing a copy of some of them with this letter.
We have cabled your mother and notified the other
relatives. Many of our churches held memorial serv-
ices last Sunday and others will be holding them in
the near future. I am also enclosing a copy of a letter
which we have sent out to all the churches.
I wish I could sit down and talk to you, for it is
so difficult to express one's deepest sympathy and feel-
ings in a letter. May our living Christ be very close
to both of you dear girls during these days.
With affectionate regard I am,
STEPHEN J. COREY.
Letter sent out to the Churches by the Foreign Chris-
tian Missionary Society (Disciples), later merged
in the Missionary Society
THE WAY OPEN TO LASSA
The December Missionary Intelligencer contained an
article from our missionaries in Tibet asking for new
workers to open up a mission at Chiamdo, the halfway
station to Lassa. It also stated that the Tibetan gen-
eral had forwarded a letter of Dr. Shelton to the Dalai
Lama at Lassa, asking permission to visit that city
arid do some medical work there.
A letter has just been received from Dr. Shelton
under date of August 31, which says: "I received a
reply to the letter I sent to the Dalai Lama in March,
stating that if there is nothing in existing treaties to
keep me from coming to Lassa he will put no hindrance
in my way."
So far as the officers of the Foreign Society know,
there is no treaty that would stand in the way of an
American missionary traveling anywhere in Tibet.
This being true, the last obstacle in the way of enter-
ing Lassa is removed. The supposed opposition of the
Tibetans themselves has been the stumbling block.
Now, with many officials inviting the missionaries to
enter, and others raising no objection, the time has
surely come for the Disciples of Christ to go up and
possess the land.
What a thrill and a challenge this situation presents !
Tibet, a belated nation, without a railroad, without
street cars or electricity. So far as is known, even
without an automobile. No good roads, no modern
cities. Not a church, nor a school, nor a hospital,
except at Batang on the eastern border. Everything
that stands for progress is yet to be done in Tibet.
Every Lord's Day the little Tibetan church of not
more than twenty-five members sits around the Lord's
table breaking the loaf and partaking of the cup,
"Shewing forth the Lord's death till He come again."
With faith and vision we can see in the next quarter
of a century a host of little Christian churches scattered
all over the land.
"Separate me Barnabas and Saul. And when they
had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them
they sent them away." The strongest and the best
were sent out into the fields beyond. Our people are
facing such a time to-day. Surely the Holy Spirit
is urging even now some of our finest and biggest
306 SHELTON OF TIBET
men to leave places of prominence and leadership and
answer this call of Tibet Men with the spirit of
Paul, with the pioneer daring of Livingstone, with
the untiring energy and heroic devotion of Carey, are
needed for this task.
Let there be no misunderstanding about the pro-
posed undertaking. There is a strange romanticism
in this appeal from that far-off highest table land in
the world. But to those who go it will not be romantic.
It is without doubt the most difficult field in the world.
There will be months and years of unending study of
an intricate language. There will be the cold indiffer-
ence of centuries of passive Buddhism. There will be
the imbedded suspicion of all foreigners. There will
be the blighting influence of hundreds and thousands
of Buddhist priests. There will be the very instincts
of the people themselves for religion, but a religion
without a moral uplift and entirely without the idea
of a divine Saviour. How heart-breaking it will be
for enthusiastic, consecrated Americans to try to get
results under such almost insurmountable difficulties 1
But the way is now open ! He who has told us to go
has said, "Lo I am with you." And it will be a great
day when at least four well equipped families are ready
to depart for that long journey. It will take many
men and women, but some should start soon. Others
should complete their preparations and be ready for
the advance movements as they present themselves.
May the Holy Spirit hold us steady, and commit us
unreservedly to this great, unfinished task which is
now so definitely before us.
China Inland Mission,
Yunnanfu, Yunnan, S. China,
3 March, 1922.
DEAR MRS. SHELTON,
The shocking news of Dr. Shelton being killed by
brigands has just reached us. We can only begin to
imagine the shock and grief which the dreadful mes-
sage would bring to you, nor less to your two dear
daughters at home. The mysterious Providence, which
permitted the removal of such a pioneer worker, ex-
perienced missionary, and far-known and well-loved
healer, demands the profoundest trust and hope. We
ask for the healing touch of the Comforter, who alone
can give balm for such an awful wound. As you
know, all of us loved and respected Dr. Shelton.
We are quite at a loss to know what the Mission
will do without him, a mission so far off and isolated
and he so well known and respected as he was in all
that region. God makes no mistakes, and what we
know not now we shall know hereafter.
The news was broken to us as a meeting of the
Yunnan Missionary Association was just gathering.
A resolution of sympathy was passed and the above
letter ordered written, expressing the deep sympathy
of the whole missionary community here.
On behalf of the above association,
Yours in Christian sympathy,
H. A. C. AL;LEN,
China Inland Mission,
Yunnanfu, Yunnan, China,
5 March, 1922.
SECRETARY, FOREIGN CHRISTIAN MISSION SOCIETY,
I am instructed by the Yunnan Missionary Associa-
tion to convey to you our sincerest sympathy in the
loss of Dr. Shelton who, as we have learnt by wire
was killed by brigands on the borders of Tibet, on
He was well known to us here. First, because of
308 SHELTON OP TIBET
his being captured by brigands two years ago- when
nearing this city and held for hostage for three months,
during which time fruitless negotiations were carried
on between the Government and the outlaws. Then
again, he has but recently passed through here, stay-
ing some time in this city, escorting a new band of
workers to Batang.
His geniality, interesting experiences, and love for
the Tibetans won him a large place in all our hearts.
His unfailing kindness to all Orientals awakened af-
fection and opened the door to many hearts. Only yes-
terday I heard of a young evangelist of ours who re-
ceived kindness from him halfway between here and
Batang, who when he heard of his death gave vent to
his feeling through tears and refused to take his food.
The blow to you as a Mission will be very severe.
His experience and his skill, his wide range of friends,
and his sudden removal from an isolated and important
mission station, will make his loss very hard to fill
and be felt most keenly. We had Mrs. Shelton and
her two daughters living with us here during the time
that Dr. Shelton was held captive by the brigands,
which gives us another link with him. I have been
asked to address a letter of sympathy to her in India.
Her two daughters at home will be crushed by the
terrible news. We are witnesses of their more than
ordinary attachment to their father.
On behalf of the whole missionary community of
this city, I wish to express our sympathy and our keen
sense of your loss in this trial. God is able, however,
to use this disaster for His own glory, and to the
creating of a new and widespread sympathy with
foreign mission work in general and this field in
Yours very truly,
(signed) H. A. C. ALLEN,
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST CONGO MISSION
L. F. JAGGARD, M. D.
Monieka, D. C. C. M., Coquilhatville
Congo Beige, West Africa,
10 May, 1922.
MY DEAR MRS. SHELTON.
Just this week we received the cable from the office
telling of the great loss you and your daughters have
been suffering. I greatly feel the loss of a friend. I
know a little of what you are passing through. I
sympathize with you. How or why Doctor had to give
his life thus will probably never be known in this world.
He had given a great deal for Tibet and now he had
finished with his all. Now it is left for you and the
girls to give in sorrow and loneliness. And I think
your giving now is even greater than his gift. As
he himself expressed it about Bro. McLean, being
now with Bro. Rains, he is with them both now and
all of God's saints.
Since when I was with the Dr. and Pres. McLain
in the rallies in 1911 I have always dreamed of a trip
home via Palestine and India and Tibet and down the
river way out to Nankin. But I don't know that I
want to now that he is not there to be with.
But Mrs. Shelton, all I can say are cold, cold words,
and so pitiably weak. The Lord bless you and make
up to you in some way or other for this awful loss.
Heaven is a little nearer for all those who knew the
Doctor, now that he has gone. All of us here are
grieved and sympathize with you. The Lord bless you
and your girls.
Louis F. JAGGARD.
310 SHELTON OF TIBET
Foreign Missionary Department, Australia
Melbourne, 14 May,
MRS. A. L. SHELTON & FAMILY,
c/o U. C. M. S.,
ST. Louis, MISSOURI, U. S. A.
DEAR MRS. SHELTON AND FAMILY :
On behalf of the Victorian (Australia) F. M. De-
partment and the churches of the State I desire to ex-
press their deepest sympathy and Christian love to you
in your season of sore trouble and tears.
We in this Southland feel the poorer because of
the call to higher service of your beloved husband
and father. Although it was not our privilege to
meet the heroic Doctor face to face, yet we of the
Victorian Brotherhood felt he belonged to us; we
loved him for his marvelous and unique ministry as a
hero of the highest type. He was a leader of the
Carey stamp, an explorer and pathfinder of the Liv-
ingstone spirit and daring, a lover of suffering and
lost humanity like unto Mackenzie of China, an ambas-
sador of the glorious Gospel like the indomitable Paul,
and above all, a true man among men like the Man
of Galilee, Jesus Christ.
During the annual conference of the churches
(Easter-tide) at the Monater F. M. Session, a resolu-
tion of loving sympathy was unanimously carried, the
resolution commended you and yours, also the U. C.
M. S. to the care and love of the Eternal Comforter.
May the Eternal God the Father throw His loving
arms round and about you.
The members Of my committee join in this expres-
sion of Christian sympathy to you all.
Yours in His Service,
J. ERNEST ALLAN,
Foreign Missions Committee of the
Churches of Christ in South Australia.
26 May, 1922.
DEAR SISTER SHELTON :
Please forgive the lateness of this letter, but it is a
far cry from Australia to U. S. A., and our Commit-
tee feels that it cannot allow the passing of your noble
husband to go without a word of sympathy from us.
At the last committee meeting I was directed to write
you assuring you of our prayers and our sorrow in
the passing from us of such a noble servant of God.
Brother A. C. Garnett of Australia had hardly re-
turned from Yunnanfu, China, and his thrilling mes-
sage telling of the plan of Dr. Shelton to enter Lassa
was still ringing in our ears when word came of his
death. We feel that we have sustained a great loss
as well as you. For a number of years we here in
Australia have been watching the progress of the work
at Batang. Ever since Dr. Rijnhart told us her story
in the book, "Tibetans in Tent and Temple," we have
been watching and praying. What her great suffer-
ings and devotion did for Tibet in inspiring Dr. Shel-
ton and yourself to go out, we are sure your husband's
death will do in greater measure, and although the
price that you, personally, have had to pay, is so
great, we believe that our God will give you some
measure of consolation and strength in the fulfillment
of his hopes, and the prospect of the glad reunion.
May the Lord bless you and your family is the prayer
of our Committee.
Yours "in the Gospel,"
312 SHELTON OF TIBET
Unley, South Australia,
3 June, 1922.
FOREIGN CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
1501 LOCUST STREET,
ST. Louis, MISSOURI.
I am directed by the Federal Committee of our For-
eign Missionary Society in Australia to convey to you
their sympathy at the loss of such a worker as Dr.
Shelton. In his journeyings from Batang to the sea
coast, he would call at Yunnanfu, where our Aus-
tralian missionaries are, and they had delightful in-
tercourse, and sat together round the table of the Lord.
Our missionaries spoke of how much they admired and
loved Dr. Shelton, and what a season of spiritual re-
freshment it was to be in his company. You have lost
one of your greatest of missionaries, but who can say
we have lost him!
I am sure that since his death his name has become
a greater houseword than ever before in scores of our
churches, and at all our recent conferences his name
became an inspiration to larger missionary enterprises,
and I notice in some of the articles received for our
Foreign Mission Day number of The Christian the
name of Dr. Shelton often occurs. Dr. Shelton' s death
will give a stimulus to our own missionary work, and
I am sure a greater stimulus still to your larger enter-
Uriley, South Australia,
3rd June, 1922.
c/o UNITED CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
UNITED STATES AMERICA.
DEAR SISTER SHELTON,
We were all very grieved to hear of the death of
your husband Dr. Shelton. He had come to be quite a
familiar name to us in Australia, as in passing to and
from Batang he passed through our Australian station
at Yunnanfu, and our missionaries told of the delight
they had in visiting him, and the story of his work has
been told and retold in hundreds of our churches until
we think we surely know him.
We extend to you our sincere sympathy at your in-
comparable loss. We pray that God's blessing of com-
fort may be given to you and your children in abundant
measure. Though his bodily presence is away from
the earthly battlefield, his spirit is alive beckoning us
to "come on" to greater victories for the Lord that he
loved and so devotedly and self-sacrificingly served.
On behalf of the Federal Committee,
314 SHELTON OF TIBET
THE COLLEGE OF MISSIONS
CHARLES T. PAUL, M. A., R. G. S.
WALLACE C. PAYNE, M. A., B. D.
Indianapolis, Ind., 26 July, 1922.
MRS. A. L. SHELTON,
MY DEAR MRS. SHELTON:
In reply to your 'favor of the yth I beg to say that
the College of Missions will be glad and honored to
receive the Doctor's desk and chair to go into the
Memorial Library room. You have doubtless heard
that the College is creating the Shelton Memorial
Library and Professorship. The total investment is
to be $65,000, of which $50,000 is to endow a Tibetan
Professorship and $15,000 to be invested in the Li-
brary. Of the latter $5000 is to be expended immedi-
ately in available books on Tibet, and $10,000 is to
be invested as library endowment yielding about $600
per year for further purchases. We have already se-
cured a large range of the most valuable material
The Memorial Library is being established in a sep-
arate room. It is in this that we propose to place the
desk and chair and to have as fine a portrait of the
Doctor as we can secure. It is our intention in con-
nection with college opening this year to have a special
dedication service for the Library. Will you be in
the East around September 20? We should so much
like to have you present for this dedication.
Will you please ship by freight, as soon as con-
venient, the desk and chair, charges to be paid at this
end? And, of course, the College will also pay the
expenses of packing.
We are all thinking of you these days with loving
Very sincerely yours,
CHARLES T. PAUL.
P. S. I am deeply interested in your proposed book
on Dr. Shelton.
i. N. MC CASH, President
31 July, 1922.
MRS. A. L. SHELTON,
381 N. GIBBS STREET,
MY DEAR SISTER SHELTON :
I owe you an explanation for the delay in acknowl-
edging personally the splendid collection of photo-
graphs you sent for Phillips University. Those photo-
graphs will preserve the memory and incidents of the
life of your beloved husband. I am having them
mounted so the young people, numbering about eighty,
in conference here now, shall have an opportunity to
see them. I expect to mount them permanently for
the Bible College of Phillips University. Slides will
be made from some of those pictures and used in our
campaign for the enlisting of young people in the
service of Christ.
You have been made acquainted with the results of
our efforts at Phillips University to persuade young
people to give themselves to the holy calling of mis-
sions. When the news first came of Dr. Shelton's
death it made a profound impression upon the student
body of Phillips University. At the church services
in the weeks that followed forty volunteered for either
home or foreign field. Among them were some of
316 SHELTON OF TIBET
the strongest students in school. Your husband ranked
with Livingstone and Moffat and others who have
been given by Christendom wide recognition for
I hope you and the girls are well. You have our
prayers for the Lord's preservation over you and them.
We shall be glad to have you come to Phillips Uni-
versity any time. The door of welcome is open to you.
Very sincerely yours,
I. N. McCASH,
KANSAS WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY
608 Topeka Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas
21 September, 1922.
DEAR MRS. SHELTON :
The State Convention of the Kansas churches is
here in Topeka, October 2-5. On Thursday evening,
the 5th, we will have a Shelton-Tibet service. We
have asked Miss Naomi Shelton to lead the devotional
service, Miss Trout will speak on the Shelton Me-
morial, and Mr. Yocum will give an illustrated lecture
on yours and Dr. Shelton's work in Tibet. It is our
thought at this time to have Miss Trout announce
the Kansas memorial work for Dr. Shelton. We are
undertaking the $25,000 orphanage building in Batang
in his memory. I have thought the friends here in
Kansas would appreciate very much a letter from you
to be read at this time.
I need not even attempt to tell you of the feeling of
our people regarding the work that you and Dr. Shel-
ton have done. It has been such a monumental work.
The loss is that of all Christendom and not merely
of our people, and anything we do or say seems very
small. But there are in Kansas a great many church
people who are remembering you and the girls in their
prayers and who think of you all with the deepest love.
If you could send us a letter to be read at the State
Convention when our first announcements are made
concerning the Shelton Memorial and also sent out in
our first letters to the churches, we will be very
ALMA EVELYN MOORE.
MRS. A. L. SHELTON,
c/o FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH,
RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE WOMEN'S MISSIONARY
SOCIETY OF THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH,
ATHENS, ALABAMA, APRIL 1 7, 1922.
WHEREAS, it has pleased God that Dr. Albert Leroy
Shelton complete the matchless trinity of heroes of the
Cross with Petrus Rijnhart and Zenas Sanford Loftis
of Texas who have been justly awarded the loftiest
niches in the temple of Christian achievement in the
present century; and
WHEREAS, the latest champion of the faith for which
his Divine Master suffered a cruel death, and made us
"more than conquerors through Him who loved us";
and as His ambassador has written "Resurgam" on
the heaven-kissed peaks of the Himalayas ;
Therefore, Be it ResolveH by the Women's Mission-
ary Society of the First Christian Church, Athens,
Alabama, assembled in regular meeting to appeal to
its worthy Brotherhood of which he was a faithful
messenger, to designate a day for commemorative
services in memory of Dr. Albert Leroy Shelton:
Resolved That his prophecy that "The land of
Tibet would become a part of the kingdom of Jesus
318 SHELTON OF TIBET
Christ," be fulfilled in supplying the vacancy created
by his tragic death:
Resolved further, that his dreams have been realized
through the power of Him who broke the blade which
pierced his side, and at His Command the King of
Terrors yielded, and in his place gave the immortal
Soul a peaceful sleep.
Resolved that the prayerful sympathy of this church
be extended his wife and daughters through the press
of our Brotherhood.
Committee (Mrs. W. L. Martin)
(Mrs. P. H. Mears)
Chairman, Mrs. Aurora P. McClellan.
Apr. 1 7th, 1922, Athens, Ala.
UNDER THE STARS
In memory of DR. A. L. SHELTON
Under the stars he slept, but his spirit was waking.
Often his body fatigued, o'erwearied with travel,
His soul, impatient of rest, aroused from its slumber.
Round him he saw the forms of his sleeping com-
Standing apart, his comrade in many a journey,
Rested his mule adoze, one foot slightly lifted.
Farther away the yak, the bearers of burdens,
Uncouth silhouettes and indistinct in the star-light,
Browsed and drowsed till dawn should bring them new
Round the camp arose the great Himalayas;
Eager, the traveler lifted his eyes to their summits
Where, *twixt the peaks, he traced the far snowy passes,
Roads of desire that led to the goal of his vision.
For at the end of the way lay Lhasa the Sacred,
Lhasa the suffering, knowing no trace of a healer,
Lhasa the sinful, and hopeless without a Redeemer.
Up from the peaks he looked to the heavenly spaces,
Up to the great calm stars, that travel unwearied,
Keeping their steadfast course to the end of the ages.
Farther than mountains or stars, yet nearer than heart's
Felt he the Spirit Divine, the Ineffable Presence.
No road too high or too hard if his Master went with
No goal too distant and dim if Jehovah revealed it !
Secure in His love, secure in His guard and His
Under the stars he slept.
Under the stars he sleeps, but his spirit is waking.
Low lies the grave of the man who died for his vision,
Died for the truth that he lived and the dream of his
For his compassion for men and his love for Jehovah.
Still at the end of the way lies Lhasa the Sacred,
Lhasa whose pain still knows no touch of the healer,
Lhasa whose sin still knows no hope of redeemer.
And 'twixt the peaks still stretch the far snowy passes,
Waiting the foot of the man who dares to go forward.
Difficult roads that lead to the City Forbidden,
You shall not wait for long the coming of promise ;
For, as it ever has been, the martyr is victor;
His spirit is waking.
1 FRANCESCA BELLAMY TAYLOR.
November 17, 1922.
1 Written a few days before she, too, passed to the "other
I I IB III
UNIVERSITY OF CHICA
48 438 100
48 438 100
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO