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Full text of "Sport & travel in both Tibets"

SPORT AND TRAVEL 




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QJotttBlI llntttcr0ttg ffiibtatg 

i)tt)ara, Nem ^nrk 



CHARLES WILLIAM WASON 

COLLECTION 

CHINA AND THE CHINESE 



THE GIFT OF 
CHARLES WILLIAM WASON 
CLASS OF 1876 
1918 



DS 785 JsT^" ""'™'''"'' '■''■"'y 



Sport & traver in both Tibets / 




3 1924 023 493 665 



M 




XI 



Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924023493665 



SPORT &: TRAVEL 
IN BOTH TIBETS 

By LADY JENKINS 



WITH MAP AND TWENTY-FIVE 
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS EX- 
ACTLY REPRODUCED FROM THE 
AUTHORESS'S ORIGINAL SKETCHES 



Printed and Published by 
BLADES. EAST & BLADES. 23. ABCHURCH LANE, LONDON. E.C. 



a 



DEDICATED 
TO MY FRIEND 

MISS FRANCIS AUGERAND. 




< 

O 



PREFACE. 




[•T the request of many friends who are 
interested either in Sport or Travel, 
I have written the accompanying pages 
from the notes in my diary kept during my 
expedition in both Tibets. The illustrations are 
reproduced from my own sketches made on the 
spot, sometimes under great difficulties — in no 
instance have I tried to present a finished picture, 
but rather to faithfully portray the strange, wonderful 
colourings and contours of this almost unknown 
part of the world. 

I am greatly indebted to Miss B. Pughe for the 
picture of the curios, which I bought in Tibet, 
also to the Geographical Society for the map on 
which my route is marked, but most of all my thanks 
are due to His Highness the Maharajah of Kashmir 
for the facilities he gave me, and for his unvarying 
courtesy and kindness. 

The photogravure on the cover of the book 
contains, besides the animals described, specimens of 
Markhor, Ibex, and Barrasingh, which I shot on my 
return journey from Leh, but which is not recorded 
for fear of wearying my readers by taking them twice 
over the dreary road between Leh and Bombay. 

MINNA JENKINS. 

ClLBRONNAU, 

Nr. Cardigan, 
October, igog. 



DESCRIPTION OF TROPHIES SHOT 
BY LADY JENKINS IN 1906. 



Ovis Ammon 


I 


Tibetan Gazelle 


I 


Tibetan Antelope 


4 


Shapu - - - 


3 


BURHEL _ _ - 


2, 


Barrasingh 


2 


Ibex 


2 


Markhor - 


2 





• 
LIST OF PLATES. 








FACING 






PAGE 


I. 


Srintagar - _ _ _ preface 


II. 


Fishing in the Wular River 


3 


III. 


Over the Zogi-La 


5 


IV. 


Ladaki Woman and Baby - 


10 


V. 


LaMAYURU ----- 


14 


VI. 


Local Shikari - - 


16 


VII. 


Leh _--__- 


19 


VIII. 


Curios ------ 


22 


IX. 


MiROO ----- 


24 


X. 


Mani-Wall and Chortens - 


27 


XI. 


NiBRA ------ 


32 


XII. 


BuRHEL {Ovis nahura) - - - 


36 


XIII. 


Sabana (the Cook) - - - 


39 


XIV. 


TUNDOOK - - _ 


43 


XV. 


Baggage Yaks 


45 


XVI. 


Pangong Lake _ - _ _ 


52 


XVII. 


Phobrang (14,500 feet above sea level) 


54 


XVIII. 


TooLOOMERBO (green river) 


61 


XIX. 


Antelope Plain - 


62 


XX. 


TuNDOOK II and Goatherd - 


69 


XXI. 


Camp in Pangong Nullah - 


73 


XXII. 


Crossing the Marsemik La- 


7S 


XXIII. 


Snow Trout (14,500 ft. above sea level) 


76 


XXIV. 


Starting for the Chang La 


78 


XXV. 


Devils' Dance - - - - 


87 



CHAPTER I. 




[HE guide books will tell you, with 
bewildering references to works you 
have never read and maps you do not 
possess, the way from Bombay to Srinagar, They, 
however, wisely omit any mention of the awful heat of 
the two days' and nights' train journey to Rawal 
Pindi, and in graphic descriptions of lovely scenery no 
suggestion is made of the torture of the three days' 
drive in a bumpy, springless tonga. But for those 
persons foolish enough to contemplate leaving Srina- 
gar, they are unanimous in advising a halt of several 
days. A stay was, of course, necessary for me, as 
arranging the outfit and stores for such a lengthy 
journey takes time ; being the guest of His 
Highness the Maharajah of Kashmir, and thanks 
to his great kindness, everything was made easy, 
and I was spared the many unnecessary delays which 



2 

most travellers in Kashmir have to learn to endure. 
Nibra, the shikari, met me as arranged, and acting on 
my firm belief that a good manager will always do 
better if he has entire control, I explained to him what 
I wanted and where we were to go. Also that he 
could arrange everything in his own way, buy the 
stores and equipment at the shops that gave him the 
best commissions, etc., with the fortunate result that 
after four days of ceaseless bargaining and fearful 
battles with boatmen and camp servants, we started, 
a cheery party, composed mainly of Nibra's relations 
and friends. 

I was amused to learn from Ramjhan (the servant 
I brought with me from India) that Nibra is afraid 
my hands are too small for rifles, and my feet for the 
endless stony places we were to march over. He was, 
however, reassured by Ramjhan, who told him won- 
derful stories of my journey to Somaliland, and 
magnified the five tigers I was lucky enough 
to shoot in India into fifteen. It was not until 
we had left Leh that Nibra confessed he never 
expected the Ladysaheb, " looking like a town lady 
and not a shikari, and being horribly weak and thin, 



■*W"' 




FISHINf; IN "I'HE WULAR RIVER 



3 
could be so strong and walk so well." Nibra is the 
first person who is not at all shocked at my going 
alone — he thinks it quite sensible, and assures me "he 
will be there," and from that moment to the time of 
my return, he was there ; never obtruding or fussing, 
but when wanted, his helping hand or strong back 
was ready, always a faithful and encouraging" guide, if 
a somewhat silent one. And as the months went by 
and I learnt the resources and quiet strength of his 
character, I was first amazed and then delighted at 
this grown-up child's views of life, cities, and 
countries he had never seen. Oh ! fellow sportsmen 
and explorers, beware of what you say and do in 
foreign lands, for whole nations and countries are 
judged by you, the first and possibly the only 
example they may have of your countrymen. 

The route from Srinagar to Leh is a wonder 
way, and it is hard to realize that in the brief 242 
miles you can pass through such different lands and 
climates. I left Srinagar, as the sun was setting, in a 
large doonga or house-boat, having wisely taken the 
precaution to order the servants and baggage boats to 
keep out of earshot ; and floating and rowing down 

B 2 



4 
to the Wular Lake, one could almost imagine oneself 
in or near Venice. Promises of baksheesh made the 
relays of boatmen row well, and they landed us at 
Gundubal in the early morning. Venice and romance 
were soon forgotten in the truly Indian scene 
of hopeless muddle and wrangling as the boats 
were unloaded. The reason for the large stores of 
rope which we had brought with us was obvious when 
we saw the miserable inefficiency of the cord and 
pieces of string brought with the ponies to fasten 
their loads. Whilst I breakfasted under a lovely 
chenar tree, Nibra took command, and fairly soon 
everything was in order and the march begun ; the 
ponies looked comically small and helpless under 
their bulging, bulky loads. 

India in its turn was left behind, and for the next 
two days we rode through lovely pastures of sweet 
grass and fields of grain and waving Indian corn — a 
small Rhineland. The meadows were carpeted with 
flowers — larkspur, meadowsweet, wonderful pink 
mallows, wild roses, and festoons of the bridal 
creeper. The mountains which rose on either side 
sheer above us, were fringed and draped with firs and 







•f 



OVER THE ZOGI-LA. 



pines, and the slopes below with great walnut trees and 
whitey-green willows, harmonising well with the river, 
which is an unusual blue-grey colour. Then we rode 
along the banks of the rushing Scind River, winding 
through deep, quiet woods that reminded me of the 
Tyrol. As the valley mounted and the pine woods and 
snows came into sight, I believed I was in a part of 
Switzerland I had not yet seen. Then we climbed the 
Zogi-La Pass, and there are no more comparisons. 
You look down from its summit on one side into 
the smiling, happy land of Kashmir, and on the 
other, you get your first view of the extraordinary 
land known as Western Tibet — here, I may say, 
travelling in comfort ceases. We were unlucky 
crossing the Pass, as owing to a very recent landslip, 
the track was almost blocked, and one of the ponies 
making a false step, fell over the edge and was 
dashed to pieces. 

Turning our backs on Kashmir, we descended 
the Zogi-La. Some way down we were obliged to pass 
a newly-fallen avalanche and to cross a log bridge 
over what ought to have been a tiny stream. Instead, 
however, owing to the displaced and melted snow, the 



stream had become a roaring torrent, and it was quite 
a nerve-shaking walk, crossing without even a handrail; 
evidently a strong head is better than brains in this 
country ! It was a wonderful sight to see most of the 
laden ponies cross without a falter or slip — three poor 
little fellows, however, could not be made to face the 
bridge till their loads had been removed, and then 
they walked trembling over, this delay, of course, 
making us very late getting to camp. 

The climatic conditions were now becoming 
most trying, the cold being intense during the night 
and early mornings. 

As the sun rose over the great massive and 
towering rocks, the heat became unbearable, being 
accentuated when we passed through the deep valleys 
and gorges, the loose stones reflecting the heat, 
making the air hot and dry as in an oven ; the dust 
was awful, my face and lips began to crack and 
chap. I can almost hear you say: "Why did she not 
take some cold cream with her?" I did, and used it all 
in a very short time, and afterwards bought all there 
was in Leh and used all that too. On looking back on 
my journey and comparing the horrors of mountain 



• 7 
sickness, sleeplessness caused by the high altitude, 
terrible cold and even hunger, taken all round, the 
constant pain and discomfort of my cracked cheeks 
and lips was the worst to bear. Of course, for men 
it is better — they surround their faces with beards, 
whiskers and moustaches, but I was cruelly glad to 
see the lips of my coolies, guides and servants 
getting gradually worse and worse, and to know 
that I was not suffering alone ! The next few 
days were spent riding endlessly up and down 
the road to Maulbekh. The track is so narrow 
that the pack ponies had to walk on the crumb- 
ling edge with sometimes a sheer drop into 
the river below. At first I tried very hard to 
make the pony I was riding keep to the centre 
of the path instead of the unsafe edge, but 
gave it up when it was explained that the ponies 
generally carry packs, and when so laden there 
is only just room if they walk on the edge. 
They get so accustomed to this that I noticed 
some loose driven ponies walking carefully in the 
same way. 

Poor Ramjhan, who at first scorned a pony, after 



8 

a few days became so footsore and worn out that he 
was obliged to ride, and the reason for his reluctance 
was at once patent to everyone. There was only one 
place, the saddle, where Ramjhan never seemed to 
be ; it became the joke of the day, and the freshest 
pony was always secretly reserved for him. I have 
seen him travel for quite a long way hanging from the 
pony's neck, round which he had clasped both 
his feet and hands. I think Monsieur Chocolat, in 
Paris, could learn a few new falls from him. But the 
most comical part of all was to see him mounting. All 
Ladaki and Tibetan saddles are the same — horrible 
wooden affairs — rightly described by a well-known 
traveller as " torture saddles." The gap between the 
rough wooden ends is filled in with sheepskins 
loosely thrown on. Ramjhan used to put one foot 
in the stirrup and clutch wildly at the saddle, which 
either turned round and left him lying on the ground 
under the pony, or, he tore the sheepskins away 
waving them over the pony's head ; this startles even 
a pack pony, and Ramjhan, his foot entangled in the 
stirrup, used to follow the pony on one leg till 
someone could stop laughing enough to go to his 



9 
rescue. He gave up all these methods in time, 
and ordered the coolies to lift him into the 
saddle. They always deposited him on purpose, 
either in front or behind the wooden peaks, and 
his timid attempts to get into the saddle, so often 
ending in disaster, caused the caravan endless 
merriment. 

We passed first through miles of utter desola- 
tion, and saw enough stones with which to metal 
the roads of the civilised world, then through great 
granite rocks enough to build whole cities with, and 
last, near Maulbekh, through sandstone mountains. 
It was there, passing between the great figures carved 
in rock, that I first realised we were in the Buddhists' 
country. The few people we saw had the Mongolian 
features and finely pencilled eyebrows, but not the 
sallow skins, of the Chinese, their complexions being 
more like the Northern Indians. Their wonderfully 
bright red cheeks, quaint head-dresses and ornaments 
of uncut turquoise add greatly to their picturesque- 
ness, and they have the wide, brave, unblinking stare 
which I have never seen in thickly populated 
countries. The men wore pigtails and leather sabots 



lO 

with striped and coloured leg pieces lined with 
sheepskins. 

The marriage customs of Ladak are surprising 
and terrible. Polyandry is the rule — one woman 
being the wife of all the brothers of a family. 
Amongst the richer people three brothers are sup- 
posed to share a wife, and the younger brothers join 
a monastery ; but amongst the poorer classes the 
wife is the wife of any number of brothers. 

All the children, however, are the children of 
the eldest brother, and inherit the property at his 
death, to the exclusion of the younger brothers. 
There is no actual marriage ceremony. If there 
are only two or three brothers in a family the 
wife may choose another husband, who comes to live 
in the house amicably with the others. In spite of 
this, divorce is easily arranged. If the wife and 
eldest brother do not agree, they separate, and she 
may marry another family of brothers without con- 
sulting the younger brothers of the first husband. 

But after nine marriages the woman becomes a 
widow ! I do not know what reason is given by the 
learned to account for the great numbers of Lamas in 




Plate IV. 



LADAKI WOMAN AND BABY. 



[ ] 



Ladak, but to me it is perfectly obvious and simple — 
the younger brothers no doubt flee from the happy 
home ruled over by the eldest brother and invaded 
by the temporary husbands. 

The Lamas can have no sense of humour, as the 
" gods " stuck up on the route are really very comic, 
and I have come to the conclusion they must also be 
very unselfish, for their monasteries are perched on 
bare rocks, in most unpleasant places, where no one 
else would think of living. 

At Karbu there was a most welcome change from 
the endless daily ride of about ii miles — this distance 
may seem nothing to those whose idea of riding 
means pleasant canters and gallops over lovely open 
country, but here it is one unvarying stumbling walk, 
always up or down hill, lasting from 6 a.m. to 6 or 
7 p.m. every day. From Srinagar to Leh fresh ponies 
can be hired about every lo to 14 miles, so we were 
able to do double marches every day. One of the 
villagers came to tell us that there were shapu {Ovis 
vignei) on the hills, so the camp took a well-earned 
rest. I was glad at last to handle my rifle — it 
seemed such a long time since it had been packed up 



12 

at Bombay. We left very early — about 4 a.m. — 
Nibra, the local shikari, the lunch coolie, and myself. 
It must be explained that the lunch coolie's duties 
are not merely to carry a packet of sandwiches ; 
he carries the whole party's food for the day, 
which was cumbersome, because it included a teapot 
and kettle, also a feed for the pony I rode, as it is 
impossible to rely on finding any grazing. He had 
to stay with the pony during our absence and never 
allow it to make a sound or movement if we were 
near, and after we had stalked for hours and gone 
miles, he had to miraculously appear. Need it be 
said he was always in disgrace and covered with abuse, 
as it is not possible for anything, except, perhaps, a 
bird, to do what he was expected to do. I quite 
realized this, and at once fell into the habit of saving 
all my ill-temper for the poor tiffin coolie, who, later 
on, repaid good for evil by saving my life. 

The dawn was very beautiful as we climbed up 
the hills. My poor pony, as we neared the summit, 
became quite breathless, and so did I, when every now 
and then, to ease him, I tried to walk. At last we 
saw a herd of ewes, and while we were watching them 



13 
a snowstorm came on, with a horrible biting wind. 
We lay down behind some rocks till about 4.30, when 
the snow stopped and we saw three rams on the 
opposite crags. They were, of course, out of range, 
but the local man pointed out the way to approach 
them. We rushed down the hill only to find that 
they had moved on, and we had to retrace our steps, 
climbing laboriously up again. The beating of my 
heart quite frightened me, and I felt so stupid as I 
literally gasped painfully for breath. At last we saw 
them, but it became suddenly very dark, and we 
were obliged to return to camp, which we reached at 
9.45. I was too tired for dinner, and went to bed 
and to sleep at once — soon, however, to awake, 
shivering with cold, to find my hot water bottle 
had not been screwed up, and that I was in a 
pool of freezing water. After a great fuss I got to 
sleep again, only to be awakened by one of the half 
wild village dogs, who was eating the candle in my 
Uttle lamp with noisy enjoyment. It seemed as if I 
had never slept at all when we started next morning 
on our march to Lamayuru, which we reached at 
sunset. Whilst the camp was being arranged I 



14 
hastily made this sketch, but it falls terribly short 
of what I intended. The setting sun turned the 
sandstone rocks to a glowing pink, and the strange 
fissures and chasms, bridged by houses, to beautiful 
purple and mauve shadows, incredibly soft and tender. 
The nest-hke buildings seemed almost to hang in the 
air, and it needed the deep booming of the conch 
shells calling the Lamas to evening prayer to remind 
one that you were looking at the dwellings of men. 

It was at Lamayuru, after a very long day up 
and down the hills beyond the monastery, that I had 
my first chance at the shapu. We again took a local 
shikari, who was very amusing. About 6 a.m., when 
we were half-way up a hill, we met a Lama driving 
some donkeys and sheep, and soon after we came on 
some new tracks of shapu and began stalking. The 
Lama was requested and bribed with a small coin not 
to shriek at his donkeys and sheep, but to drive them 
in silence for some time until we were well over the 
summit. He seemed very pleased with the bribe, but 
his cries and shouts were even louder than before, so 
the local shikari rushed after him with his big climbing 
stick and chased him about half a mile down the hill. 



JL. 





15 
where he stopped, the Lama still running from the 
few well-directed stones that the shikari hurled after 
him. It was a very comical scene. 

With a pause for breakfast we went on climbing 
steadily till we reached the summit at mid-day. 
Here we halted, there being no necessity of going 
anywhere else, as we could see what looked like the 
whole world from where we stood — the hundreds 
of ridges and summits of hills were like rolling 
waves at our feet. It is easy to believe the 
world is round from these great heights, as the 
horizon becomes a perfect circle. On this mountain 
there was no snow, although in some places it lay 
thousands of feet below us. Sheltered in the 
curves of the mountains were lovely mossy grass 
places and some vivid blue gentians and a sort of 
edelweiss. We rested there till about 3.30, carefully 
watching the hills with our field glasses. We saw 
several herds of shapu, but all on peaks that were 
about a day or two's walk from where we stood ; but 
at last, just as we were beginning to despair, our 
guide showed us two rams grazing near, but far 
below us, and going in the direction of the pony and 



i6 

tiffin coolie, who luckily were well out of sight behind 
a lower hill. I have no words to properly describe 
the mad rush down hill that followed — our plan being 
to get on to the part of the hill where the shapu were, 
and then to stalk them. Nibra and the local shikari 
held me on either side as we ran down the precipitous 
sides of the mountain. One of us was always falling, 
and sometimes when we dislodged a large stone 
or rock on the loose crumbling hillside, we all three 
fell together. 

There was a pause when we came to a dangerous 
corner. Nibra went first to reconnoitre. Just 
as I was preparing to follow, he reappeared, his 
eyes nearly out of his head with excitement, and his 
finger held up for silence. He whispered to me to 
follow him and shoot at sight, as the shapu were 
on some rocks across a nullah about 150 yards 
away. 

I crawled round the rock and there they 
were! Nibra had loaded my 375°, and in a sitting 
position I aimed ; unfortunately, resting my left 
hand on my knee, just as I fired, the ground gave 
way, my foot slipped and, of course, I missed him ; 



l.Ml>u.iJi^*i^ 



kSEJ^ 




Plate VI. 



LOCAL SHIKARL 



17 
but they stood quite still, and I had a lovely shot 
with my second barrel and knocked one over. 
Nibra passed me my second rifle, and I was lucky 
in getting the other one, who kept stopping to 
look back at his dead companion. Nibra and the 
shikari were visibly pleased. No one who has 
not experienced the long, trying and tiring stalks 
can realize the delight of success, and I was more 
than glad, for so much depends on the shikari's 
opinion of your shooting, as if they consider you 
a bad or unlucky shot, they will not give you nearly 
as many chances, or take the great and untiring 
pains they do, for one they trust not to disappoint 
them by a miss at the end of a long, perhaps 
cleverly-arranged stalk. 

The heads measured 31 and 27^ inches. The 
31 inches is the largest shot here for very many 
years, so my shooting good luck is following me. 



CHAPTER 11. 




"■T is no longer a surprise to me that 
so few people see Ladak. After the 
Zogi-La, the way is one long horror 
of dust, scorching sun and landslips, and to anyone 
with a bad head for heights, or a weak heart, the 
road would be impossible. Just before entering 
Leh there is a trying five miles through burning 
sand up to the town, away from the River Indus, 
which for the last few days had seemed like an old 
friend, the track having apparently been designed to 
show how often it was possible to leave and rejoin it. 

We met two Englishmen who had been shooting 
beyond Leh, and when they heard that I intended 
to go beyond Changchenmo they were horrified, and 
begged me to look at their cracked and swollen 
faces. They assured me it was a country fit only 
for suicides. 



^«£>t: 



->-;> -^ 



.^■' 



H , 







. ^9 

As we approached Leh the glamovir of the set- 
ting sun was over the old fortifications and the 
ten-storied palace of the Gialpo on the rocky ridge, 
which forms one end of the town. We wended our 
way down the steps under the gateway and up the 
main street, which contained a beautiful line of 
poplars on one side, just then shedding little balls 
of cotton wool which made them look as if they 
were standing each in a separate snowstorm. 

The telegraph master met me near the rest-house 
with a sheaf of messages re-directed from Kashmir. I 
shall always remember his kindness and sympathy, 
when, after spending two endless days waiting at 
his instrument, he at last, in the middle of the night, 
brought me the reassuring news I was so anxiously 
awaiting. It was only then that I realized how 
far I was out of the world and that it would 
take less time to get from London than from 
Leh to Bombay, However, as Leh was to be the 
starting point, not the end of my journey, I did 
not allow my mind to dwell on getting back, but 
spent two more very busy days arranging stores, 
transport and in re-packing my own belongings and 



c 2 



20 

leaving behind all the comforts and luxuries I had 
brought with me for the expedition. 

In luxurious shooting parties in India the 
baggage question never arises, but my experience 
in Somaliland had taught me the only secret of 
success was to travel light, and to realize at the 
start that it is possible to do without everything 
except food, clothing and ammunition. When I 
had sorted my possessions, Nibra asked to inspect 
my luggage. He collected several of my garments 
and said they must be lined with fur, and went 
off to the bazaar to order it to be done. When 
I went out some time after to complete a lengthy 
bargain, begun two days before, for some turquoise 
ornaments, perhaps my amazement can be imagined 
when I found most of the town collected, trying 
to cut out the fur to match my clothes, which 
were neatly stretched out on the sand of the High 
Street of Leh ; advice was being given by a warlike 
Yarkandi who had just arrived with his caravan ! I 
fled from the scene and visited the Moravian Mission, 
a set of brave men and devoted women living in exile 
and hardship at an altitude where strong men find 



21 

difficulty in sleeping, and breathing when lying down, 
and little children fade and die, and where their 
sacrifices and hopes meet with little or no reward. 
Converts are rare, and the Mission help of healing 
and medicine is accepted with distrust and scant 
thanks ; these brave men and their no less brave 
wives live indeed to the glory of God and the utter 
forgetfulness of themselves. 

In Ladak, out of 20,000 inhabitants — all Budd- 
hists — 4,000 are Lamas and Chelas (disciples), so that 
with a Lama to every five laymen, missionaries have 
very little chance ! ! The Ladaki Buddhists are devil 
worshippers and intensely ignorant, superstitious 
and uncivilized, but very inquisitive and easily 
amused, and cheerfully choose a life in which cease- 
less wandering under heavy loads belonging to others, 
seems to be the principal part. In religious matters 
they are governed by the Dalai Lama from Potala, 
near Lhassa. 

There is one never-ending joke — "ju-ju," pro- 
nounced " jew-jew," meaning "salaam," or "good-day," 
but the oftener you say it and the more rapidly you 
repeat it, the more the Ladakis and Tibetans grin 



22 



and bow and laugh. At first I thought them idiotic, 
but at last found myself laughing quite naturally, as 
if it were a splendid bonmot. 

The Mission house had a wonderful little garden 
with carrots, turnips, cucumbers, and even a few 
flowers, and I gratefully accepted the generous supply 
given me. They have also a collection of ornaments, 
teapots and curios which have been bought by them 
at intervals. I purchased some articles of interest 
which were placed in charge of the telegraph 
master until my return, as by then the Mission will 
be closed and the missionaries and joint commissioner 
will have left, as no Europeans venture to stay in Leh 
for the winter. 

I have pleasant memories of a dinner with 
the joint commissioner, and owe him and the Wazir 
great thanks for all their kindness in helping to 
arrange my caravan and stores. 

Mr. Apcar, of Calcutta, was also there, from 
Baltistan, where he had been shooting, and very 
kindly delayed his return to Kashmir in order to go 
with me for a few marches. As soon as I received 
further satisfactory wires from Bombay we left, and 



23 

after safely crossing the Marsahing La, I parted from 
Mr. Apcar, who after four days vainly spent in 
imploring me not to be so foolish as to go on, 
reluctantly left me to my fate. 

I suffered in Leh, which is only 1 1,500 feet, from 
sleeplessness and headache, but up here on the Rupshu 
Tablelands, 15,000 feet above the sea level, with 
peaks rising all round of 2,000 to 5,000 feet, I felt the 
horrible sensations known as mountain-sickness : 
terrible headache, and after every 20 minutes or half- 
hour's sleep a dreadful awakening, as struggling 
into an upright position imagining that you will die 
gasping for breath if remaining lying down. This 
is, of course, a foolish question of nerve which can 
soon be overcome, but worst of all was the horrible 
feeling of depression and collapse from which all 
travellers in Chinese Turkestan suffer at times. 

There was always a high wind blowing ; the air 
was sharp and clear and very dry, the snow line is 
20,000 feet, and the water freezes every night in 
summer. Near the little village of Miroo with the 
turquoise and sandstone hills a meagre field of carefully 
irrigated barley was ripening. We arrived at a very 



24 

exciting moment when the owners of the field were 
hurling huge stones at two other men, who were busy 
throwing stones back with a great flow of words, and, 
mercifully, bad aim. The battle ceased on our arrival, 
and they all assisted at pitching our camp, their 
enmity forgotten in wonder at the first sight of a 
she sea- devil, i.e., English lady. 

It is wonderful that barley and grain should 
ripen at over 15,000 feet. The irrigation of the 
fields is sometimes most intricate. There are, of 
course, no pipes, and it is quite exciting to see the 
way the water is allowed to rush down a little open 
mud drain with a miniature dam at the end which 
causes it to rush up another little drain and thus 
reach a higher level, with many little channels down 
which the water flows, irrigating the high field, and if 
there is a drop of precious water too much it flows 
back to the main supply. 

After my evening meal, as I was going to bed, 
the whole village came to my tent to ask me to settle 
the dispute we had witnessed in the barley field. No 
one could understand what the quarrel was about, 
but after many delays and questionings, I decided in 






-<1 ? 1 



sm»^a^ 



^ 



- "T-jr 






^i^ 



.^ffiSfli^ 




.Al*H«M^ 










Plate IX, 



MIROO, 



25 

favour of both sides, and amidst great ju-ju-ing and 
tea drinking, all ended happily. These tea parties 
are very terrible, as instead of sugar and milk a piece 
of rancid butter and a pinch of suttoo (a sort of flour) 
are put into the wooden cup ; it is then stirred with 
the finger — your own if you are quick enough and 
brave enough to put it into the boiling tea — otherwise, 
it is politely done for you by the never-yet-has-been- 
washed finger of the man squatting next you. It 
must then be drunk and the cup licked clean before 
putting it into the breast of your sheepskin coat. 

Next morning we were seen oiF by the villagers 
with good wishes and presents of two old hens and 
three eggs. It was nice to feel that, except for 
the champas who live in tents made of yak and sheep- 
skins, we should see no more people; we were 
actually in the land of the Ovis ammon, and might 
any day or moment come on tracks of them. 
Nibra was firm, and made us do another week's hard 
marching before we began shooting. The way was 
horrible — nothing but stones and small salt lakes. 
We all suiFered from the want of fresh water. Later 
in the day we came to the mani-walls and chortens 



26 

shown in the sketch, and I found our otherwise 
cheerful, happy-go-lucky coolies cross. I could not 
understand the reason until I recalled one of their 
customs, which is to keep count of the number of 
chortens, mani-walls and gompas passed ; therein I 
had failed, but soon found a way to the hearts of 
the Buddhist coolies. It was always to ride or walk, 
leaving the prayer-wall on your right hand. The 
observance of this sacred custom, the guide tells me, 
will be certain to help me to Heaven. To ensure 
getting there, every good Buddhist must carve the 
prayer " 6m mani padmi hum " on a stone and place 
it on one of the built-up heaps of stones, and when- 
ever he passes, these words must be often repeated 
with constant bowings and salaamings. I give some 
of the translations of "6m mani padmi hum": — 

" Oh jewel of the lotus, oh 1 " 

" Ah, the jewel is in the lotus." 

" Om, the jewel in the lotus, hum." 
so that although the words of the prayer are always 
the same, perhaps the petitioner reads different 
meanings into them. But they seemed to me to 
be merely a meaningless formula. 



1} A' 




H « 

u ? 
a s 



2 i. 



27 

I have pictured in the plate the little opening 
in the chorten (tomb) on the right. The dead Lama 
whose tomb it is, having been burnt, his ashes 
are then collected and mixed with clay, which is 
worked either by hand or cast in a little mould 
into a bas-relief of Buddha and placed in the opening. 
I sent the caravan ahead, telling the cook, who 
respected nobody but " Allah and his prophet 
Mohammed," to remain with me, with some mis- 
givings — the wretched cook having lost his courage 
at the critical moment. I put my hand in the small 
hole and found three little images of Buddha ; two 
were very old, but one was distressingly new looking, 
so I put it back — for the same absurd and undefined 
reason, I suppose, that will allow people to walk 
calmly over an old grave, who would not dream of 
stepping on to a newly-made mound. 

When I returned to Kashmir, I found that other 
travellers had dared to take the little Buddhas, and 
that someone had given them the name of " potted 
Lamas." 



CHAPTER III. 




^E left the Lhassa route at the frontier 
and turned up a narrow nullah, where 
we pitched our tent near a lovely 
running stream of fresh water. It was delightfral to 
camp again after so much marching. We had only 
two chickens left, so I allowed them to roost in my 
tent, as the nights were very cold and they had 
become so tame, feeding out of my hand, that I 
gave orders to spare their lives. 

We found Tundook, who had been sent on to 
look for tracks of Ovis ammon, awaiting us with the 
splendid news that Tibetan gazelle were on some 
hills quite near. 

The next day we made an early start in a snow- 
storm, which suddenly cleared, and we found 
ourselves in the middle of a herd of kiang (wild 
horses). I think the man who so misnamed them 



29 

could never have seen a horse, and certainly never a 
donkey, or he would have called them wild donkeys 
in spite of their trot and gallop, which is more that 
of a pony. They are very inquisitive, and actually 
come towards anyone who will stand still, but never 
near enough to allow of lassoing, and the champas 
never even attempt what they consider the impossible 
task of trapping or capturing one. Although T loved 
to see them, I hated them before the day was 
over, and was almost tempted to do as the shikaris 
wished, and shoot one — they were constantly getting 
between us and the gazelle we were stalking, and by 
their restless and uneasy behaviour giving the alarm, 
thus warning them of our approach. 

So began a tremendous day, the longest stalk I 
have ever done in any country, and when at last Nibra 
persuaded me to try a long shot, as the bucks were 
again making for the open plain where we could never 
hope to get up to them, I horribly misjudged the 
distance and missed with both barrels, and away they 
went uninjured and not much frightened ! I measured 
the distance to where I thought my bullets struck, 
and found the gazelle had been much further than I 



3° 
imagined. This, I think, is owing to the intense 
clearness of the air, and the sameness — nothing but 
stones — of the country. 

Very disgusted and tired, we had our mid-day 
meal at 3.30, and on our way home came on the same 
bucks. I had a long, impossible shot, and again my 
bullet struck the ground short of them. I was 
terribly disappointed at my bad shooting. The 
gazelle is a very small beast, and perhaps I was foolish 
to attempt such a long shot! Later I marked a spot 
for a target and fired a few rounds till I found the 
range. In future I intend to aim at everything over 
100 yards as if it were twice as far ! It is those trying, 
unsuccessful days that make the good days such 
happy ones. On the way home I tried being a 
Christian Scientist — shutting my eyes and imagining 
a windless summer day with lovely green grass and 
shady trees, beautiful soft chairs, and the scent of 
flowers. Just as I was forgetting the tearing wind, 
the awful glare, and my aching self, my pony 
suddenly rolled over, and I found myself and the 
pony sliding down a little precipice ! I shall not try 
being a Christian Scientist again. 



Several days were spent in tracking and stalking 
Tibetan gazelle. We saw several herds of does 
and one solitary buck, and again several bucks 
together, but stalking on this wide plain with no 
cover except stones is very difficult, and I could not 
get a shot. Once, after a long and cleverly-arranged 
detour, I came round the hill I had been making for, 
to find myself in a beautiful position about 80 yards 
from the gazelle, but they were all does. Later we met 
some champas, who told us that they had seen three 
Ovis ammon with lovely horns near here. Tundook 
engaged one to show us the place, and after a short 
night we left camp about 3.30 a.m. The snow lay 
quite thick on the ground, but all disappeared as the 
sun rose. After about two hours' ride we came to a 
nullah, where we left the ponies, and there began a 
wonderful climb up a steep valley with a tiny stream 
all festooned with ice and crackling hoarfrost, which 
seemed in the wonderful stillness to make an appalling 
noise under our feet. Slowly we proceeded, panting 
at each step, until we reached a great height, and at last, 
round a rocky corner, we saw the three Ovis ammon 
coming towards us. Nibra and I hid behind the ledge 



32 

and the others stole back. I wish I had words to 
describe my feelings then, after all those weary weeks 
of marching to be at last in sight of the animal I most 
wished to shoot, and the horrid dread that I should 
miss my chance ! But all feelings were negatived in 
the attempt to steady myself on the ledge and not to 
pufF and pant loudly as one is apt to do at great 
altitudes and after severe climbs. Nibra loaded both 
the rifles and I was ready ! I dared not move to get 
out the field glasses, but made up my mind to aim 
at the last animal, who seemed darker and bigger than 
the other two. Suddenly, as they came on, the last 
one lifted his head and took an uneasy look round ; 
the others meanwhile altered their direction, still 
coming towards us, going upwards. The one 
I had intended to shoot turned slowly back ; the 
other two were nearing the top, when, as they 
stood outlined against the sky, I fired and hit 
the leader, who sank to his knees. As he got 
up I had another shot but missed him, he then 
disappeared with the others over the summit. I 
was then hauled, pushed, and dragged up that 
awful precipice, until at last we came to the 




Plaik XI. 



NIKRA. 



33 
place where the Ovis ammon had fallen, evidently 
badly wounded, and on looking over the ledge to our 
horror found that we were not yet at the top of this 
terrible mountain, but only on another ridge with a 
small glacier at our feet, dividing us from the actual 
rocky summit. The wounded animal was nowhere 
to be seen, being hidden from view by the rocks, 
which rose gaunt and bare out of the snow, on 
which we could track him by the bloodstains, which 
became more and more frequent. I sank down, 
absolutely done, and feeling very ill, my heart thump- 
ing, and a bursting feeling in my nose and ears; even 
the Tibetan guide sat down and drew in his breath 
with a whistling noise, while Nibra lay down panting 
and sick. We had forgotten everything in our 
mad rush, hoping to get another shot if necessary. 
After a while we recovered a little, but I felt 
too ill to go on, so Nibra, rather frightened, 
decided to stay with me. I sent the guide and 
coolie on, the former insisting on taking one of my 
rifles, although they both acknowledged they 
could not shoot ! After they had gone, Nibra 
unpacked some cold curry and rice (we could not 



34 
make a fire, as we had not brought any fuel), and 
after eating I felt much better, and then it suddenly 
dawned on us that we had been riding and climbing 
since 3.30 a.m. until mid-day, and that we must be 
faint for want of food, as well as exhausted with 
climbing. 

We lost sight of the coolie and guide, but pre- 
sently Nibra noticed some vultures and ravens circling 
round the rocks, and pointing them out, solemnly 
salaamed, congratulating me on getting my first Ovis 
ammon. He assured me that not only must the 
Ovis ammon be dead, or the vultures would not be 
there, but that our men must be there too, to prevent 
the birds settling on their prey. I felt much better, 
and was most anxious to go on, but Nibra said that if 
I did so we should never find my pony, and I could 
not possibly walk all the way to camp, so I very 
reluctantly began the long descent to where we had 
left the pony by the little stream in the morning; 
here we found him, and I rode back to camp. 

I have always held that no sportsman should 
leave a wounded animal, but circumstances, and 
these terrible altitudes, were too strong for me, 



35 
and I was most unhappy till the men came in 
with the head — quite a beauty! We measured 
it at once, 413^ inches by 17]^ inches round. That 
night I had a delicious dinner of mutton broth and 
chicken, and went tired-out, but very happy, to bed, 
and slept till mid- day. As soon as I had dressed I 
went to superintend the packing of the much-prized 
trophy ; it was very neatly sewn up in a portion of 
the skin of its own body, the head and neck were 
not ready to pack for some days, as they had to 
be carefully stretched and dried. I had long before 
lost count of the days of the week, but having 
written my diary most carefully every day, I knew 
the date until the end of August, then, having no 
calendar and never having been able to remember 
the rhyme which begins "Thirty days hath," I could 
not fix an exact date for the Ovis ammon, but after 
my return to Bombay on the 15th December I 
found the memorable day had been the ist 
September. 



D 2 



CHAPTER IV. 




|»NOW was everywhere, and the cold was 
intense as we started next day at 6 a.m. 
After about two hours' wandering, we 
sighted some burhel (Ovis nahura) and after stalking 
up and down precipices of crumbling shale till 
I felt ready to sit down and weep tears of utter 
weariness, we suddenly saw a herd just under 
us ; they must have crossed a lower ridge, whilst we 
climbed straight up. A cautious crawl brought me 
to a ledge of rock, where I had a steady, easy shot, 
picking out the male, who was quietly grazing with 
his females. He fell over and rolled down the 
hill, whilst the herd disappeared as if by magic. 

After a painful and difficult descent, we came 
down to him, but his horns measured only 22 inches. 
Nibra would not hear of my taking the head, as he 



'SO^"' 



■■^ 










Plate XII. 



BURHEL iJJvh nakura). 



37 
was determined — I think almost as much for his own 
honour and glory as mine — that my bag should not 
contain a single bad specimen, and he was sure I should 
shoot others. I suppose it was being so fearfully 
tired made me feel that I should never even see 
another, but as I had put myself in Nibra's hands to 
do the best he could for me, I contented myself with 
ordering the burhel to be left where he was, so that I 
could at least make a sketch of him as well as have 
his meat for the camp. 

The illustration will show some of the difficulties 
of stalking on these awful hills ; every slow step one 
takes dislodges the stones and loose shale, making 
a tremendous noise as they roll down sometimes 
thousands of feet, bumping and bounding and loosen- 
ing other stones in their descent. If you attempt 
to go fast you generally fall, which is not only 
painful and annoying, but with a loaded rifle in 
your hand is dangerous; and although we were 
dressed in sheepskins, matching the colour of the 
ground, we were conscious of standing out more 
clearly from the background than the animals them- 
selves. If it were not that they make as much 



38 
noise as we do when moving, there would be no 
possibility of ever getting near them. 

There were a great many marmots — dear little 
furry beasts — all about this country, but they always 
escaped into their holes before I could get a shot. 

The return to camp was rather trying, as instead 
of going back on our own tracks, we tried what we 
thought would be a more direct way, and it was 
only when we had gone too far to turn back that we 
found ourselves obliged to climb down several 
thousand feet, before we began the long ascent to 
our camp. I remember thinking that if ever I 
returned to civilization I should never even pretend to 
be tired ! 

The little pony was fagged too, and as we were 
zig-zagging up a very steep hill he slipped and fell, 
knocking down the two coolies who were carrying the 
venison in his helpless roll down hill. Many of my 
friends have laughed at me at different times for 
wearing a skirt and riding on a side saddle, and 
generally not looking more the part of a sports- 
man ! but I was thankful that day that even in this 
uninhabited country I had stuck to my attire, for as 




Plate XIII. 



SABANA (Thu Cook). 



. ^9 

the pony fell, the skirt for a moment caught in the 
pommel of the saddle, and as I was on the precipice 
side of the pony, saved me from certain death. The 
check just gave me time to throw myself flat, 
and the faithful tiffin coolie, who was about 50 
feet below, was able to stop my helpless, headlong 
roll into the abyss below. It took a long time 
for the men to get down to the pony and bring up 
the saddle, but I was glad to have more time to 
recover, for I shook and trembled dreadfully, and 
did not want the men to see how unnerved I was. 
It was some days before I realized how magnificently 
and completely I was bruised. 

Nearing our camp the cook met us with profuse 
apologies for the coming meal of Ovis ammon, which 
he could not hope would be good. I told him not to 
mind, as last night's dinner had been delicious, but 
reminded him of his promise not to kill the two 
wretched fowls — " But, Protector of the Poor," he 
said, " as the poor ones died by no man's hand, 
I thought the Ladysaheb would not mind, and so 
prepared a proper meal! But alas! to-night this 
ancient sheep, unspiced and with only one old potato 



40 

will not please, — thy humble one can do no 
more." I can only hope that the fowls died of 
cold ! 

Our store of potatoes was now exhausted; it 
did not much matter, as after freezing every night 
and thawing every day for weeks they were almost 
uneatable. I no longer laughed at our enormous 
supply of onions, which were soon to become our 
only luxury. 

Next day we started early, about 5.30 a.m., and 
soon after leaving camp we saw five Ovis ammon 
females, and immediately after came on new tracks 
of Tibetan gazelle, or goa, as the Tibetans call 
them. We had a long stalk for about an hour and a 
half on the plain, mostly creeping behind stones and 
rocks, to get near enough for a shot. After a long, 
agonising crawl on my knees which would have been 
painful without the bruises of the previous day, 
with my rifle in my hand, I arrived at the ridge of 
rocks I had been making for, and after carefully 
removing my hat, peeped over, expecting a nice 
easy shot, only to find them gone ! A long look 
through the glasses at the surrounding country 




134. 



1 .J .ils-w=lieior. 



Loud-OH'. Blades 



41 
showed no trace of them. I might have saved both 
my knees and clothes — the latter had begun to look 
pitiful. I only had two other outfits, and was 
anxious that this one should last a little longer. 

I was just shutting up the glasses, when I 
saw, about 150 yards away, seven bucks coming 
round a hill towards us. Nibra had by this time 
walked up and gave me a frightful nudge (a gentle 
nudge is the signal to shoot, but when excited 
he almost knocks me over) as of course, he dare 
not even whisper. I fired at the third one, which 
seemed larger than the others, but missed him 
with my first barrel, the shot fortunately going 
high ; he then stopped a moment, and I knocked 
him over with my second. I allowed Nibra 
to have two shots with my other rifle, but of 
course, he hit nothing. It is a strange thing 
that these shikaris, whose lives are spent in 
the pursuit of sport, have no idea of shooting, yet 
their greatest pleasure seems to be firing off 
rifles. 

We had to make a detour of about a mile to get 
to the dead gazelle, as there was an impassable 



42 

nullah between us. There is no doubt this is a 
terrible country. At last we got to him, and on 
measuring his horns, found them to be 12^ inches. 
This is a very fair size for these little beasts, the 
record being about 14 inches. 

While the two men we had taken with us found 
some dried burtza — a stick-like grass, something like 
heather — and roots for a fire, Nibra skinned the 
gazelle, and the Tibetans took a haunch, and 
after warming it at the fire, proceeded to devour it 
with fingers and teeth ; of course, there was not 
sufficient fire to really cook the venison even if they 
had waited, but Nibra said " This is nothing, 
these ignorant ones do not mind eating raw flesh." 
I was sorry I saw them, as it made me feel quite sick, 
and the eating of my own meal difficult. 

As we had been stalking in a circle, we were 
fairly near our old camp and on the line of march to 
the new one, so we waited for the caravan, which 
through the glasses we could see approaching, and 
marched with them. Until it became too monotonous 
and wearisome, it was quite amusing to see every 
baggage animal in turn lie down and roll on his 







■ifpmnf^ 



Plate XIV. 



TUNDOOK. 



43 
burden, bursting the ropes and unloading himself, 
boxes flying open, and all our treasures strewn on 
the ground. 

Nibra and Tundook rode together all day. 
Evidently there was a great discussion going on, 
everyone being consulted in turn; and when one 
unfortunate coolie under examination gave an answer 
which was displeasing to Nibra or Tundook, he had 
his head smacked and retired to drive his pony or 
yak again, his square chocolate face, with the finely 
pencilled eyebrows and smiling mouth, calm as if 
nothing had happened. During the mid-day rest, 
Nibra laid the result of the heated discussion before 
me. Tundook said he spoke Hindoostani, but I 
could not understand him, though fortunately Nibra 
did, as he was our only interpreter, and without him we 
could not communicate with the coolies. All our 
plans were changed. News had come from some 
charapas who had just arrived from grazing their 
flocks on the plains around Changchenmo that many 
antelope and yak had been seen there ; the champas 
appeared to be relatives of Tundook. Tundook 
was prepared to be our guide on two conditions ; 



44 
one — that the purse he wore slung on his back, 
and which was then an empty ornament, should 
be full of notes on his return, and the other, in 
case either he or I did not return, his family 
should be provided for. All this was agreed 
to, so we pushed on over a difficult and little 
used pass, which would bring us to the Pangong 
Lake. At Phobrang we were to get ponies and 
yaks for the expedition. If only we had known this 
earlier we could have gone direct from Leh, and 
saved ourselves about 14 days' hard marching. The 
cook was to go as far as Phobrang, and I determined 
to send my faithful Ramjhan back with him. 

Tundook was a great organiser — I was always 
trying to follow his apparently tireless though shamb- 
ling steps. I have sketched his back, as it was the 
view of him I knew best, with his pigtail and purse, 
his teapot in his cummerbund, my rifle in his hand, 
and the bit of blue rag in the fur cap he bought 
from the Lamas " to match the eyes of the Ladysaheb 
and to bring luck to the expedition ! " He sent on 
two of our coolies to order ponies and yaks to meet 
us at uninhabited, nameless places, commandeered 





ji**'Y»j^^^ 



BAGGAGK VAKS. 



45 
from apparently nowhere by the magic words "double 
pay." I could not help wondering if he intended me 
to leave this un-named mountain ; but I liked and 
trusted his face, and forgot to be anxious in my 
desire to get all the trophies I could. 

There was so much time for thought and reverie 
on these long, lonely marches, that in imagination 
I passed the not-yet-shot trophies through Rowland 
Ward's hands, and allotted them places in the 
dear old oak-panelled hall in Wales. 

The whole caravan seemed excited. All yaks 
are irritating, but when the one with the white tail, 
who was far the most obstinate, laid down for the 
second time, just as we were nearing the top of 
the Kotzuru Pass, and rolled on the kettles and 
cooking pots, he met with such a torrent of abuse 
that I was quite thankful my knowledge of the 
Tibetan or Ladaki languages was limited ! At last 
we reached the summit, and I was lost in thought 
as I gazed in wonder at the magnificent scene. 
Facing us was a sheer descent, leading to a cup-like 
valley, with snow-topped mountains on the opposite 
side, a giant's leap from where we stood, and lower 



46 

still, stretches of emerald greens and sapphire blues, 
the colours of a peacock's neck, with strips of white 
that looked like snow, but which, when reached, we 
found to be crystallized salt ; and stretching away to 
the left, a sheet of water like a mirror, with the 
mountains brightly reflected. The colours in Tibet 
are more wonderful than in any part of the world I 
have seen. A soft veil of exquisitely graduated rain- 
bow tints seems to clothe the land, so that not 
even Switzerland with its cruder colours can compare 
with it. This is by day, but before sunrise and after 
sunset the country strikes one almost with horror — 
it is so bare, desolate and unbeautiful. 

As soon as I saw there were wild geese on the 
lake, I stopped the caravan in its noisy descent, but 
I was too late, the geese took fright and flew oflf 
down the lake. A caravan on the move makes a 
great noise, and apart from the falling stones under 
the men's and animals' feet, there are the cries 
and shouts of the coolies, without which the 
baggage animals seem unable to travel. 

But when the yaks, goats, sheep and ponies were 
freed from their burdens, and were hungrily grazing 



47 
on this lovely and unusual grass, I crept out with 
my 303° (as my gun had been sent back to Leh with 
the Ovis ammon and Tibetan gazelle's heads) to try 
and get a goose, which would have been a welcome 
change to our scanty larder ; but darkness came on, 
and after two falls through what seemed firm salt, I 
retired to my tent to repose soundly, as we were only 
about 14,000 feet above the sea level, where one 
can sleep much better than in higher altitudes. 



CHAPTER V. 



^^ ■;.«• ife-ir 




^HE next few days were spent in endless 
climbing up and down, crossing three 
passes ; on one we met a caravan 
returning to Lhassa, the mules, yaks, sheep and 
goats, which they had brought from there laden 
with cloth and brick tea, were now returning 
with salt. The sheep and goats looked very 
quaint with their saddlebags full of salt, each load 
weighing 20 seers = about 40 lbs. We had a long 
talk with the merchants, who, after they had recovered 
from their amazement at finding a woman alone, 
begged me to go and spend the winter at Lhassa. 
They said I should be well taken care of, and all the 
Tibetan ladies would be delighted to see me, and 
lend me clothes, and that next year they would safely 
bring me back to Leh. I shall always regret that I 



49 
did not accept their offer, but at the time I thought 
it would be unfair to go off for another year without 
being able to let anyone know my plans. We parted 
with mutual regret, and I felt sure I should have 
met with nothing but courtesy and kindness had 
I trusted myself to their care. I persuaded them 
to sell me a wonderful teapot, which, being huge and 
a fearful weight, was sent to Leh. At Jongoe, a 
lovely camping place with fresh water and grass, 
we met a travelling Lama. I was very interested to 
see one of these curious men — they have no home, no 
monastery, and no teaching ; they just wander 
aimlessly all their lives. This one took no interest 
in us, beyond allowing us to feed him, and sharing 
our fire, otherwise he seemed unaware of our presence, 
and when our camp awoke in the morning he had 
disappeared. This was supposed to be unlucky. 
I could not join in the lamentations, and was 
secretly glad that the half-witted-looking creature 
had wandered away with his filthy rags and 
depressing face, but it was a most unlucky day 
which followed. First snow and rain had fallen in 
the night, and we could not light a fire ; this meant 



50 

starting at dawn on a long march shivering with 
cold, on a cup of half-frozen goat's milk and a damp 
biscuit. The yaks were fearfully trying, constantly 
lying down and delaying the march, so that we 
arrived at the ford of the Indus rather late, but were 
obliged to cross, as there was no place on that bank 
flat enough for a camp. The ford was deeper than our 
guide expected, and the little pony he was riding was 
swept off his feet, and both had to swim for the 
opposite shore. I crossed, lying flat on a yak's back, 
with tall Nibra wading to his shoulders to lead him. 
I was glad when we were all safely over. Everything 
was soaking, including tents and bedding, and the 
animals were so done, and being late, we decided to 
camp, spending a most miserable night sitting by 
the fire trying to rest without sleeping. All these 
disasters were the wretched Lama's fault for leaving 
us without a blessing ! 

Next day, when the tents and clothes were dried, 
we did a short march to Maiya, where we were able 
to hire a fresh supply of ponies and yaks, and after a 
terrible waste of time and energy a bargain was con- 
cluded, and I was the proud possessor for 80 rupees 



51 

of a good little grey pony, to whom I became quite 
attached. 

At last, after three more days' marching, we 
arrived at Shushul, where we experienced great 
difficulty in securing fresh ponies, as Dr. Sven Hedin 
had just left on his wonderful journey, so eloquently 
described in his book on Tibet, taking with him 
every available pony and man. 

The ugly little gompa (monastery) is in the middle 
of the tiny village, and the Lamas were most polite in 
showing me over their temple, which was like a badly- 
arranged cowshed, with a frieze of brightly painted 
pictures, which although the artists had never dreamt 
of perspective, or heard of tone, yet had something 
vivid and real about them. The large dolls which 
are always seated in these temples were dressed in 
dreadful rags, and the little brass vessels to receive 
the offerings of milk, butter, suttoo, etc., looked as if 
they were never cleaned; but amongst the brass 
vessels used at the worship and ceremonies, there was 
one wonderful bowl which I vainly tried to buy, but 
although Shushul is eight miles from the frontier of 
Chinese Tibet, the Lamas, with many regrets and 

E 2 



52 

longing looks at the rupees I held in my hand, firmly 
refused to sell, as they said they would get beaten 
and punished if the bowl were missing when the Lama 
from Lhassa came on his annual tour of inspection 
and examination of the temple treasures. 

After Shushul, there were some uninterest- 
ing marches till we reached the Pangong Lake. As 
long as we could hire and change ponies every few 
days, I allowed my little grey to travel without a load 
or a rider, so that he might be fit and strong later on. 
The pony I rode on leaving Shushul surprised the 
whole caravan by falling twice with me in one day ; 
these miserable little narrow-chested ponies are, as a 
rule, so wonderfully sure-footed. When we settled 
down in camp that night, it was discovered the poor 
little wretch was quite blind. I had no spaces for 
more bruises, so he was turned into a pack pony. 
Our camp was close to the Pangong Lake, but we 
were too tired to do the two or three miles which 
would have brought it in sight. Starting early next 
morning we soon came to the lake, and I did not 
then regret the delay of the previous night. The 
wonderful and unexpected sight of the great water 



llfr- 



^ 






.^ 



¥. 




53 
lying folded in the mountains with the deep dreamy 
shadows still hazy and untouched by the rising sun, 
was a sight never to be forgotten. The ever-changing 
views were so beautiful that I was sorry to think 
that it took so few days to march the 45 miles to 
the end. The waters are a hard, rich blue, so deep 
in tone that I quite expected it to be coloured in 
the little wooden teacup I used for holding my 
painting water, but at mid-day the reflections of 
the pale sandstone hills turned it to a shimmering 
pink. One cannot help wondering why anything 
so exquisite could not have been fresh water full of 
edible fish, with cattle grazing on its shores and 
the sound of wild fowl to break the oppressive 
stillness. Instead of this, the water is salt, in many 
places the shores are unsafe and shake and wobble 
under you, making short cuts impossible. A few 
miles after leaving the lake we turned a corner and 
arrived at Phobrang, a most refreshing summer 
village of four stone huts, with fresh running water 
and a wonderful view of the snows. 



CHAPTER VI. 




^HOBRANG is 14,500 feet above the sea 
level. We halted for two days making 
the final preparations for our journey 
into the uninhabitated, desolate land of Northern 
Tibet. We started at last with a much diminished 
caravan, consisting of ten ponies, four yaks, twelve 
sheep, seven milch goats, and twenty -six men. 
Ramjhan preferred to face the unknown perils to 
remaining in this deserted land, and the cook said 
"Women and children must have hot food," and 
therefore he and the frying pan, literally hand in 
hand, will accompany us, " and if we perish," he added, 
" it will at least be better for the Ladysaheb to have 
three respectable men with her," meaning himself, 
Nibra and Ramjhan. 

The inhabitants of Phobrang, about 14, including 
two children, accompanied us part of the way to 




< > 

a ° 

5 1 

ft '~ 



:,,f' 



55 
the foot of the Marsemik Pass, warning us to 
return as soon as possible. They said we ought to be 
returning then, not starting, as the snows were coming, 
and even they would shortly be going down to the 
lower valleys for the winter ; they, however, promised 
to leave one man at least in charge of the baggage we 
had stored in one of the stone huts; so after drinking 
a final cup of tea with them, we started with their good 
wishes and a charm consisting of a little round box 
with a turquoise button containing a small Buddha 
which was presented to me at the last moment by 
the Lumbader of the village, who had worn it 
attached by a dirty piece of string round his neck. 

The Marsemik Pass is 1 8,500 feet above the sea 
level, a long, gradual ascent, but with the last four 
miles very difficult going, as there had just been a 
landslip. Indeed, the whole country looked as if 
earthquakes and landslips were trying to see which 
could happen most frequently and look the worst, 
and in a land of no tracks and few travellers there 
is, of course, no one to tidy up. 

We only marched about ten miles a day for the 
next few days, as we wanted to husband the 



56 
strength of both ponies and men. This is an awful, 
desolate land, filled with a rushing, tearing wind, like 
some mad living thing unable to rest day or night, 
and it is always pain. When snowing, it whirls and 
lashes the flakes at you ; when fine, it raises whirl- 
winds of dust and sand and beats them into your eyes 
and mouth. A loose strand of hair was lashed across 
my face so violently that it made a little cut on my 
already chapped and painful cheeks. After that I did 
my hair in the Tibetan fashion — a series of tiny, very 
tight plaits over the forehead, not allowing a single 
hair to escape ; I also manufactured out of an old pair 
of gloves a sort of highwayman's mask, which I wore 
whenever a storm came on ; but nothing that I can 
say to anyone who has not been in the Changchenmo 
Highlands can convey the agony of that wild wind. 
Even in the valleys there is no shelter from it, nor 
apparently in the sky,, where great masses of clouds 
were generally flying and churning about, and 
sometimes at sunset the sky looked like a gigantic 
fire half hidden in immense volumes of smoke. 

The coolies have great endurance^ and one 
wonders if it is intense brutish ignorance or the fine 



57 
effect of their death-ignoring rehgion which makes 
them march so fearlessly and pleasantly into the 
unknown. 

The boy in charge of the goats, although only 
about ten years old, was marvellous. Half-starved 
goats and sheep are very tiresome to drive, as they 
will suddenly rush long distances up or down preci- 
pices in pursuit of a few blades of grass, so that the 
little fellow, rolled in his sheepskins, his fur cap 
crammed over his dirty, grinning little face, after 
being shown the direction of the day's march, 
had to start before the rest of the camp. The 
quaint calls and whistles with which he controlled 
his refractory flock were the first sounds heard in the 
morning. We often overtook and passed him about 
mid-day — he then had to use all his strength of mind 
and lungs to urge his wretched flock to keep us in 
sight, consequently he was generally last in camp. 
My admiration for this solitary, dignified child 
was unbounded. 

We marched on past Pomlung and Pamzal, 
where a few willows were growing in the river bed, 
and it was amusing to see how all, with one accord. 



58 
instantly went to cut themselves a stick. When 
you march great distances without any chance 
of getting a new stick they become most precious 
possessions, and a few days later there was a great 
quarrel over a stick between two coolies. The 
Tibetans and Ladakis never use their fists, but 
instantly a dispute begins they throw stones at each 
other; for, if I have been able to describe the 
country at all, you will have realized that, although 
uninhabited, almost unexplored, treeless and barren, 
still there are stones — and always stones. 

We wandered on for some days, passing over 
the Lanak La, 1 8,000 feet, until we came on tracks of 
kiang and yak. In the Kashmir countries and Western 
Tibet the shooting of yak is, of course, prohibited, 
as His Highness is a good Hindoo, and yak, being 
a sort of cattle, are held sacred. But once in Chinese 
Tibet I vainly tried to get a good specimen. 

The rifles were once more unpacked, and we 
began tracking a solitary bull, which Tundook says is 
a very big one. (I have noticed that the animals you 
never get a chance of shooting, or the ones you miss 
are always thought by the trackers to be records.) 



59 
We stalked him on and over and round every hill-top 
in the country for long days. The third day, whilst 
following the will-o'-the-wisp tracks of the yak, we 
found a herd of Tibetan antelope, A snowstorm 
came on, and under cover of it we managed to get 
well up to them. How can I tell the wretchedness of 
that afternoon ! It is always difficult to climb in 
these high altitudes, because you become breathless so 
soon ; but added to this you must please picture me 
dressed in a heavy fur-lined skirt, a huge fur coat all 
sodden with snow and sleet, afraid to lift my face out 
of the protecting flaps of my fur cap because of the 
biting, freezing wind and blinding snow, my hands so 
numb with cold that I could hardly feel the 
trigger of my rifle. However, the chance was there, 
and I had to nerve myself to lift my head and take 
aim. I was amazed at what I saw, the whole slope 
seemed covered with antelope, I had two easy shots 
and managed to kill two good ones, 17^ and 18^ 
inches. Whilst they were being skinned, complete 
darkness came on, and very heavy snow, so we all 
sheltered huddled together under a rock. As we have 
no idea in the morning where we are going to camp at 



6o 

night, the caravan had orders to follow us every day, and 
two coolies were told off to keep between us and the 
caravan so that we should not lose each other ; but 
having wandered up and down so many hill-tops that 
day in the thick snow, we were lost for some hours, 
but at last, when our miseries, hunger being not the 
least of them, were almost unbearable, the advance 
coolies found us, and after many mistakes and delays, 
we found our camp. Sabana, the cook, had managed 
to make enough fire to warm me some soup, and 
after taking off my most sodden garments I crept into 
bed about 6 p.m. But alas, Ramjhan, his poor 
hands numb even in their fur gloves, dropped the cup 
of priceless hot soup just between the flap of the 
tent door and my eagerly outstretched hands. His 
dismay and horror were almost comic enough to make 
up for the calamity ; unfortunately the soup was 
irreplaceable, as the tiny fire had gone out, so he 
brought me as a poor substitute some cold venison 
and still colder goat's milk. 

The next two days, the snow having obliterated 
all tracks of everything, we marched with the caravan 
and saw neither bird nor beast, nor track of any sort. 



-K^l 



'£ 




I i 

O z 

O tj 

J H 

O ,^ 

O =^ 



6i 

After the storm was over the snow soon disappeared, 
but we had constant hail and sleet till we came to 
Tobomorpa, and then, after a day of brilliant and 
blazing sunshine, we reached Tooloomerbo (the green 
river), where we dried our hair ; the coolies' pigtails 
and long, straggling, dirty locks were shaken out to dry, 
whilst, fascinated, they watched me in the exciting 
pantomime of brush and comb. Besides our hair, we 
were able to dry our sodden clothes, furs and gloves. 
The air was fine and very cold, but the relief of the 
warm day and dry clothes gave us all a refreshing 
sleep. 

Next day, a long march brought us to another 
pass, and I was furiously angry with the guide when 
he told me it was the Lungnak La, when I saw by 
the compass we had been steadily going East ever 
since we had left the Lanak La days before. I 
must explain that the only map I had with me 
ended at the Pangong Lake, and that I was indeed 
travelling in the unknown. The guide was very 
apologetic and seemed ashamed of himself, but per- 
sisted that this new pass was the Lungnak La. 
Suddenly a sweet smile spread over his face, as he 



62 

grasped the reason of my anger ; he then pronounced 
the two similar names one after another, Lanak La 
was pronounced Lunuk La, and the Lungnak La 
was pronounced Lunuk La with a sort of swallow 
instead of a ' g ' in the middle. He seemed to think 
it very strange that I did not hear how totally 
different they were ! The other side of the pass 
brought us to the border of the antelope plain. 

The effect of this endless, stony, featureless plain 
with its tiny glaciers and its fringe of sugar-loaf snow 
hills was most curious and desolate — I could not 
imagine anything more lonely. The African and 
Somali deserts have their scrub and oases and even 
their rows of bleaching bones, but here there was 
nothing. We marched down one of the valleys on 
the cast of the plateau, and by degrees came to less 
precipitous country with some grazing, where we met 
some armed nomads. They appeared pleased to see 
us, but their pleasure could have been nothing to 
mine, for we were beginning to think we should never 
see any living thing again. I was hesitatingly asked 
if I would object to showing them the curious and 
miraculous needles which fastened my hair. They 




w 
o 



63 
were most interested, and gratefully accepted far more 
than I could spare, but after this exhibition they 
could no longer doubt my being a woman. 

They were very anxious we should go with them to 
the lower valleys and march from there to either Pekin 
or Lhassa, as they assured us we would be in very great 
danger if we tried to get back over the Marsemik La, 
as unusually bad storms were about. They also pro- 
mised me plenty of yak shooting if I went with them. 
Unfortunately, they managed to thoroughly frighten 
the men, and we were obliged to decide to turn back 
at once. The few days we had spent with the 
shepherds had been days of almost luxury, owing to 
our being able to have quite large fires, big enough to 
even heat water for washing. 

Earlier in the year a herd of yak must have been 
grazing in this valley, so the coolies were able to 
collect fuel — travellers in Tibet being dependent on 
the droppings of wild animals for their fuel. The 
coolies looked upon me as rushing recklessly into the 
jaws of death each time I had washing water sent to 
my tent, as cleansing oneself is quite unknown and 
unthought of amongst them. They have a curious and 



64 

wonderful way of dressing — whenever they have a new 
garment (all their clothes are the same shape and 
size) they wear it over the old ones until they drop 
off in rags, but they never think of removing one 
garment when they put a new one over it. 

On our way back over the Lungnak Pass we 
came on fresh tracks of yak, and so began another 
long stalk of two days, which again ended in failure, 
and I never even saw the bull I had stalked so 
carefully. 

Near Tobomorpa we pitched our camp. Heavy 
snow came on, and here began the worst part 
of our journey, as in that one dreadful night 
we lost five sheep, two goats, and two ponies, 
all frozen by the cold. The next day was so dark 
that we were obliged to stay where we were, huddled 
together, wet, cold and helpless. The loneliness 
and misery might have been easier to bear if 
I had had an English-speaking companion or a 
book, but all luxuries had been abandoned long 
before, and even if I had possessed a book it would 
have been too dark to read it, my last candle-end 
having been burnt more than a month before. The 



65 
days in Tibet are far more lonely than any night in 
England and the nights in Tibet are indescribable; in 
the crisp freezing air, the great peaks look like 
sleeping giants sharply outlined against a blue-black 
sky, and there is no sound at all to break the almost 
overpowering grandeur of the great silence and 
solitude. 

The following night my tent fell down with a 
crash under the weight of snow, fortunately only 
hurting my arm, but I must have been a pitiful 
object, trembling with cold, in the middle of the 
night, waiting for the snow to be shaken off my tent 
so that it could be erected again. This having 
been accomplished, I was just dosing when Ramjhan 
crept out from amongst the men and said he wished 
to spend the rest of the night in my tent. I begged 
him to return to the others, as he would be warmer 
huddled up with them in their hole under the snow, 
but with tears turning to icicles on his cheeks and 
beard, he begged to be allowed to remain. After 
questioning him I found the coolies thought we 
were in a bad way, and that some had given up 
all hope of ever getting back, and no doubt. 



66 

enjoying the terror they created, had explained with 
gruesome details that if a relief party was organised 
to search for us they could not even start till the 
following May or June. I put Ramjhan's reason for 
wishing to remain in my tent in his own words — 
" When they come for us after many moons they will 
find me sitting frozen dead by my lady, and they will 
say : ' He was a good and faithful servant,' — I shall 
receive much honour from the Saheblog." 

I realized that this was not the time to indulge 
in sentiment, and managed to get up a fairly hearty 
laugh; at last, with some coaxing and kindly abuse, 
he went back to the others. 

Soon after, most terrifying groans and screams 
disturbed me, and Nibra came to say that one of 
the coolies was dying and I must give him medicine 
at once. It was some time before my fur-gloved, 
half-frozen fingers could unpack anything, and 
the first bottle I found was an extra strong 
mixture the dentist had given me to rub on ex- 
ternally in case I should suffer from toothache. I 
had been warned by other travellers of the terrific 
pain the intense cold causes to any tooth stopped 



67 

with gold or metal. " Poison " was labelled all over 
the bottle. The man's cries were awful and, in despair, 
I sent Nibra back with instructions to apply the lotion 
to the most painful part. He returned later and said 
the man was much better, pointing out he had saved 
a little of the precious stuff in case anyone else 
got ill, as undoubtedly it was a magnificent cure, 
but that the greedy man had drunk nearly all before 
he could stop him ! 

I snatched the bottle from Nibra and found it 
nearly empty. Regardless of everything, and feeling 
like a murderess, I rushed to the coolies' little camp 
and there found the man unconscious, but breathing. 
I sat by his side half stunned with cold and fright, 
expecting him to die in agony at any moment. After 
what seemed to me like weeks, but I suppose was 
barely an hour, he opened his eyes, smiled, and went 
to sleep. In the morning he was well ! But for 
several days I suffered torments, expecting him to drop 
down dead at my feet and make me guilty of murder. 
Instead, can you imagine the relief at finding 
myself adored by the wretched man whose life had 
undoubtedly been saved by the poison? For the 

p 2 



68 

rest of the journey he was most devoted, and used 
to watch me like an affectionate retriever dog. If 
he had only known ! I had the remains of the 
mixture analysed when I got back to Bombay and 
found the coolie had drunk enough to kill three 
men, so that the age of miracles is not past ! 




Plate XX. 



TUKDOOK II AND ( ;0AT1-| ERI ). 



CHAPTER VII. 




I'T Lanak we began to suffer from want 
of food — our sheep were all eaten, we 
had no venison, as I had not been 
able to shoot during the snowstorms, and the 
two remaining goats were too precious to kill as 
they still gave a little milk. One night, five of 
the coolies disappeared, taking most of our supplies. 
The future began to look hopeless ! Fortunately 
their courage failed them, for they returned the 
night of the following day, very shamefaced, and 
with a much diminished supply of the stolen 
suttoo. Although a fine morning, our start from 
Lanak was delayed, as two baggage yaks and 
a pony were missing. Cold and hunger in the 
early morning do not tend to improve the temper, 
and I was really angry when I sent for Tundook. I 
asked him why the ponies and yaks were not ready 



70 
when he had distinctly told me the night before that 
they were all safely tied up. 

"That is true!" 

"Why did you tell me they were ready last 
night ? " 

" I thought, Oh ! Protector of the Poor, it was 
better you should enter your tent and rest." 

" But were the ponies tied up last night ? " 

"Certainly, I had told a man (pointing to his 
ten year old son) to fetch them." 

" Then they were not there ? " 

" Oh, merciful one, all men of this country are 
liars, excepting me — they were not there." 

This so delayed the start that Nibra arranged 
a short march, taking two of the deserting coolies 
to guide us to the spot where they said they had 
seen antelope the day before ; after a steep climb 
we saw two buck, grazing on what looked like 
gigantic and badly-shaped sponges, but which, 
when we came nearer, we found to be patches of 
yellow-brown moss. I had a long shot at one 
and killed him, but was not quick enough to even 
get a shot at the other, who disappeared at once. 



71 
I was very disappointed to find that the horns 
only measured 19^ inches, as he was a fine 
specimen. We took him back to camp, and at sight 
of plenty of meat the scowls quickly faded from 
the usually good-natured faces of the coolies. 

When all the camp was feasting, I longed for 
a meal for my poor little grey pony, who had become 
a bag of bones in spite of extra feeds surreptitiously 
given; in fact, the baggage animals were all starving, 
and I could not bear to look at them. 

Next day, while on the march, we saw some 
antelopes, and I had a very long stalk after them, 
ending in a great climb. Just as we were nearing the 
peak, a hailstorm came on, the wind and hail being 
so fierce and painful that we were obliged to lie down 
under a ledge for shelter till the worst of the fury 
was over. Wet and stiff with cold, we crawled 
to the top, but they had vanished ! It was 
there and at that moment that I made up my 
mind if I ever managed to get back to England, 
I would never go near Tibet again! 

When at last we found the caravan I vainly 
tried to mount a pony, but my right foot would not 



72 

move. When I explained this to Nibra and Sabana, 
they rushed at me, and without a word of explana- 
tion, tore off my fur boot and four stockings, and 
began rubbing my foot with snow ; for a long time 
I felt nothing, but afterwards the agonizing tingling 
and burning seemed ridiculously and needlessly pain- 
ful. They explained that it was slight frostbite. If 
that was slight, I trembled to think what the real 
thing must be. My foot was very painful for about 
a fortnight, especially in the hot mid-day sun. 

At Lanak we struck our old route, and, pushing 
on as fast as we could with our weakened men and 
ponies, reached Kyam with its welcome fresh water 
and grazing. As the poor goats could give no more 
milk, one was killed and eaten. Our little shepherd 
had great difficulty in leading and dragging the lonely 
survivor of his flock to the Pangong nullah, where, as 
I had not been able to shoot anything for some days, 
it also found a resting place in the cooking pot. 

The relief from the intense cold and fearful wind 
in this valley was plain to read on all our faces ; and 
the joy of lying stretched out in your valise bed 
cannot be realized until you have been so cold for 



1Z 
weeks that the only way to dose (one cannot 
call it sleep) is to lie as nearly as you can in a 
ball. Down in this sheltered river bed, we were 
still higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. All 
were anxious to get safely over the Marsemik La, 
as our food was running short ; but as the Phobrang 
coolies assured us they knew the valley well, and 
could lead us to the exact spot where burhel were 
always to be found, we decided to risk another 
two days and try for them. 

Next day we left at dawn, and after a three hours' 
climb came to the sheltered maidan they had pointed 
out, but there were no burhel. Further on we found 
some fresh foot tracks in the snow, and after a weary 
chmb came suddenly in sight of seven rams lying on 
the snow in the sunshine — I have marked the spot on 
the picture with a cross. The position of my tent will 
explain one of the most trying parts of shooting in 
this country, namely, that nearly always before begin- 
ning to climb you have a steep descent in order to 
o-et on to the next mountain, which of course adds to 
the climb on the other side. We managed to stalk 
round a point and came fairly near the burhel with a 



74 
deep but narrow ravine dividing us. Although they 
did not see us they became restless and began 
wandering about. I had a good look through the 
field glasses and picked out two close together. 
Nibra loaded my rifles and I managed to shoot 
both, but I am ashamed to say I used four bullets. 
We had to go down a precipice to get on to their 
part of the mountain, and although we could see them 
quite close to us, lying in the snow, it was over an 
hour before we could get them ; they measured 
24 and 24^ inches. The glare on the snow was 
torture to the eyes. In spite of a very hot sun, the 
water in the water bottle was thick ice, but we 
managed to make a fire and heat some tea, and I 
enjoyed the warmth and sunshine until my foot 
became almost unbearably painful, and I shall never 
forget the horror of that endless hobble back to camp. 
On the following day I could not walk at all, and 
in order that I should ride all day, we had to sacrifice 
some of our kit, which was already almost nil. We 
wore every garment we possessed one on top of the 
other Ladaki-wise; our stores were exhausted, and 
we had nothing but our blankets, cooking pots, 





0% 



m^ — X— -~ — T ' 



Pl,AHi XX_1I. 



CROSSINC; THK MARSKMIK LA.V 



75 
trophies, rifles, and two tents, so we regretfully 
abandoned my tent, which was slightly bigger and 
therefore heavier than the shikari's, and so at last, 
weary and almost worn out, we came to the 
Marsemik La, and camped near the top on very 
thick snow. 

Next day we spent 1 1 hours doing 13 miles ! 
Two poor pack animals succumbed on the pass, and 
whilst their loads were being readjusted I did this 
picture; Sabana and Tundook in front, Ramjhan 
with the red muffler on his head, and my little grey 
pony looking very wretched under his sheepskin and 
saddle, and more like a greyhound than a pony. 

Great weariness, chilblains, chapped faces, and 
lips so sore that we had not dared to taste salt for a 
long time, as it made them smart so dreadfully, were 
all miseries we were well accustomed to ; but the pain 
in our eyes in consequence of the last few days of 
dazzling sunshine on the snow was a new trial and 
almost seemed the last straw. But in the determina- 
tion to get to Phobrang and safety, all else was 
forgotten. The last ten miles is an easy descent, 
but to us in our exhausted condition, it seemed 



76 

endless and impossible. At last we arrived, and were 
all much refreshed by some boiling tea provided for 
us by the two men who had remained at Phobrang 
in charge of our kit, who, when they saw " the way 
we walked," instead of coming to meet us "hastily 
made hot the tea." 

Next morning, after a long delicious sleep, I 
awoke to find glorious sunshine, and my aching eyes 
rested gratefully on the green patches which follow 
the winding banks of Phobrang's little stream. The 
surrounding mountains were now snow-topped, and the 
stream frozen in several places. I was amazed to see 
two fish surprisingly like trout dart under some 
stones. I called Nibra, and as we were turning sadly 
and hungrily away, Tundook came up and said rods 
were not necessary, " any fool could grasp them." 
One of the coolies was sent into the icy water, and 
stooping over some large stones, soon tickled seven 
beautiful trout. Sabana lighted a fire on the bank, 
and with some of the new mutton fat and flour we 
had bought from the two Phobrang coolies, prepared 
the most delicious meal I have ever eaten. The trout 
not only looked, but tasted as good as any that ever 




Plate XXIII. 



SNOW TROUT. 
14,500 feet above sea level.) 



11 

came out of English or Scotch rivers. My menu 
had been for the last 14 days : — 

BREAKFAST. 
Frozen milk, cold venison or cold mutton. 

LUNCH. 

Chinese brick tea, cold mutton or venison, 

with one onion. 

DINNER. 
Clear mutton soup (with nothing in it). 
Hot venison, or mutton, with hao onions. 

So that perhaps you can realize how exquisite the 
freshly caught and fried trout tasted eaten with some 
chappattis, the first bread I had seen for a long time. 
After a day's rest we marched to Tankse, passing 
the end of the Pangong Lake, where we met Professor 
Eric Zugmayer on his return from Kashgar and 
Yarkand. Even the coolies must have been amused 
to watch two complete strangers rush up to each other 
and joyously and repeatedly shake hands. Our 
excitement and delight were mutual, as neither of us 
had seen a white face or heard a word of any European 
language for so long. We marched ten miles together 
to Tseyaroo-tso, an absurdly small lake, bright blue 
and absolutely round ; here we reluctantly parted, as 
the Professor still had some observations to make. 



78 

We camped at Tankse, an inhabited ruin in a 
ruined land ; the gompa (monastery) was the most 
untidy building imaginable. It looked as if an 
enormous quantity of stones had been brought to 
build it, and only half the small ones had been used, 
the others being left throughout the ages lying in 
untidy heaps. We were able to hire fresh ponies, and 
next day our march was all down- hill and ended in a 
tiny village with some stunted but carefully irrigated 
willows and poplars. I never imagined anything 
would make me feel as those miserable apologies for 
trees did. All at once the memory of the horrors 
and dangers we had endured seemed to crowd over 
me, and I was amazed to feel the tears in my eyes 
as I looked at those wretched examples of the trees 
and woods I love so well. 

Having spent a long day coming down- 
hill, it seemed preposterous that we should 
have another pass to negotiate before we reached 
Leh. The Chang La is a stiff pass, and we 
found it in a dangerous state owing to the recent 
heavy snow-fall. Half-way up, crossing from 
one ridge to another, we passed over a col of 



79 
the mountain where the ground was finely sanded 
just like the floor of a canary's cage! We 
camped near a small lake at the foot of the glacier. 
There was not much sleep for any of us that night, 
the air being indescribably fine and intensely cold. 
Starting before dawn, we had three hours' struggle 
in an icy wind, helping the baggage ponies to slip and 
slide and plough their way through the soft snow 
lying on the glacier. We finally reached the summit, 
18,300 feet above the sea level, and stood beside the 
chorten, a heap of stones crowned with horns and 
some dirty rags tied to a few stunted twigs, which 
marked the top of the pass. Looking down 
thousands of feet into the valley below, and across 
the sky to the straight hne of snow-topped mountains 
facing us, the miracle of the birth of a new day was 
slowly unfolded to our view. We seemed to stand in 
an icy shadow, as the sun touched one peak after 
another with rosy light, turning all the world to pink 
and gold. I do not know if it was the great wonder 
and glory of that marvellous scene or that the tragic 
end of the last of the milch goats had deprived me 
of my customary cup of milk before starting that 



8o 

made me faint, and losing consciousness I thought 1 
was slipping feet foremost miles into the purple 
shadows below. It was a long time before the 
frantic efforts of Nibra and Sabana, rubbing my 
head and hands vigorously with snow combined 
with some brandy that Ramjhan had carried in a 
flask since the day we left Leh, brought my 
thoughts back to the top of the pass. It is a 
strange fact that although I often had to face 
the thought of death and danger, the possibility 
of illness had never crossed my mind ! After break- 
fast, half-way down the pass, out of the shadow 
and icy air of the glacier, I revived, and as we were 
now in an inhabited land, we were able to hire fresh 
ponies, and the rest of our marches passed unevent- 
fully through irrigated valleys to Sakti, near the 
Miug Nullah, where we hoped to get ibex, but the 
local men reported nothing worth trying to shoot, so 
passing the great Himis Monastery with its 800 
monks, we camped at Tikzai. A Lama riding in 
haste and in some state, passed us at the turn to the 
Himis Monastery. We had a long conversation and 
after exchanging some suttoo and tea I persuaded 



8i 

him to sell me his bridle and martingale, a fantastic 
leather affair set with sweet-toned bells. 

The Tikzai Monastery looked so picturesque in 
the rising sun that, as it was on our line of march, we 
halted an hour to see it. It was a long ride, the 
last part being up endless uneven steps roughly hewn 
in the sandstone. In the forecourt some of the frescoes 
were quite Chinese and the painted wooden altar in 
the great court was a wonderful blaze of colour. 

The Lamas were very polite and showed me the 
Great Lama's throne with immense pride. In this, 
as in all the gompa temples, the sacred flower of the 
lotus was prominent everywhere, either painted or 
carved on ceilings, walls, idols, and even engraved on 
the brass vessels used at the ceremonies. The 
quaint hand-written manuscripts with their wooden 
bindings filled a large room. The smell of the 
universal filth of Tibet was very present in all the 
monasteries, the heightening touch being given to 
the dead smells by the living odour of the burning 
rancid butter which is used instead of oil in the 
little lamps burning before the altars. 

There were two really beautiful conch shells 



G 



82 

which I tried hard to purchase, but the Lamas were 
firm and refused to sell at any price. I was glad that 
I had been able to buy one from the travelling Lama 
we met near Himis gompa. Mine (Plate VIII) was 
very inferior to these, which were very large and 
beautifully inlaid, the flag-shaped flaps of leather for 
covering the musician's hand were studded with large 
and good turquoise nails. 

Presently, one of the enormous temple teapots 
was brought in, some of the Lamas stood round 
whilst the head Lama and his Chaplain, or A.D.C., or 
Secretary, and I had tea together. They sat on the 
floor and I on a little painted stool, which turned out 
to be an altar ! Later I apologised for my ignorance, 
and amidst great laughing and joking I was allowed 
to buy the desecrated little altar, which also figures 
on Plate VIII. 

With much bowing and handshaking we left 
the monastery, descended into the valley and rode 
through tiny villages alive with the sound of singing. 
The corn was all cut and everywhere women and 
children were standing watching the oxen, yaks, 
ponies and donkeys, promiscuously harnessed re- 



gardless of size or breed, treading out the corn, their 
endless turning being done to the monotonous 
chanting of a Lama. 

Most Lamas have either some business or 
farming interests, so no doubt some of them 
were singing to their own animals and blessing their 
own corn, as no corn can be threshed without a 
Lama to chant the blessings and praises of Buddha, 
"the Lord and Giver of all." All Lamas must 
therefore sing and chant, although to some the gift 
of an ear for music has been mysteriously withheld. 
After the great silence of the land we had left, even 
their discordant notes were welcome, for it spoke of 
safety and plenty and the life we had sometimes 
given up hope of finding again. 

Without a gun the sight of the large flocks of 
pigeons which we were constantly meeting was most 
tantalizing. There were also countless magpies, often 
seven or eight together, and the old rhyme, with its 

" safe back again," fitted in well with our sentiments : 

One for sorrow, 
Two for mirth ; 
Three for a wedding, 
Four for a birth ; 
Five for old England, 
Six for Spain, 
Seven for old Ireland, 
Eight safe back again. 



84 
and so after many adventures I once more rode 
down the steps into Leh, feeling no longer a stranger, 
but as an old friend returned. 

I was the only European in Leh, and the Wazir 
called to tell me he had arranged a polo match 
and devil dance for the following day. After a 
luxurious bath, and dressed in an entirely new outfit 
chosen from the kit we had recovered from the 
telegraph office, I felt quite respectable-looking 
again, until I saw myself in the hand glass which had 
been left in Leh by Nibra as an unnecessary luxury, 
but I was not prepared for the horrible sight. 
My face was a deep and brilliant red, green 
tinting the whites of the eyes ! My lips and 
cheeks were all cracked and chapped, as well as 
sore and tender, and looked as awful as they felt. 

The polo match next day was most interesting. 
Ladak claims to be the original home of polo, and 
almost every little village has its polo ground — a flat, 
sandy place with the stones cleared and stacked in a 
neat line which forms the boundary. 

The polo ground of Leh is the high street 
depicted on Plate VII. 



85 

Quite early the crowd began to collect and sit in 
the unglazed windows. 

I was taken up to a gaily decorated verandah, 
the street was cleared, and a ragged army of polo 
players rode up, thirteen on one side and eleven on 
the other. They all wore sheepskins and long 
woollen cloaks, and rode in high-peaked wooden 
saddles gaily painted and lacquered. I asked the 
Wazir to explain that as I did not know each man by 
sight, I should be glad if one team would wear a 
yellow muslin band provided from the muslin 
decorating our verandah. They all smilingly agreed. 
The captain of the other team then came up to say 
his men were feeling very hurt, and might they 
have muslin bands too. Whilst they were being 
marked with blue, the Wazir announced that I 
would present a silver cup to the winners. 

The ball was thrown in and the game begun. 
There were no goalposts, the ends of the street being 
counted as goals. The jingling of the bells on the 
ponies' bridles and reins made a great noise as the 
rabble rode at each other, the long cloaks of the 
players almost hiding the ponies as they circled about. 



86 

The short-handled clumsy sticks were more like golf 
drivers than polo sticks, but in spite of all this there 
was some brilliant play. The ball was hit several 
times into shops which had forgotten to bar their 
windows and broke the merchandise inside to the 
delighted jeers and cheers of the crowd. There were 
no chuckers, and the game seemed endless. When the 
side with the blue bands had scored five goals to 
the others' two I asked the Wazir when they would 
stop, as the ponies must be exhausted. 

" When your honour orders," was the astounding 
reply. 

If I had known this strange rule I should long 
before have stopped play, in pity to the gallant 
little ponies. The players were then ranged up to 
receive the cup. As a matter of form I enquired 
which side had won, both captains claimed the 
victory, and in a moment polo sticks were raised and 
a battle began ! Order was only restored when the 
Wazir explained that it had been all a mistake about 
the silver cup, and that I would give a present of 
money to both victorious sides ! The polo sticks were 
immediately lowered and broad smiles replaced the 



scowls of an instant before. This little function over, 
the street was again cleared, this time for the devil 
dance. The devil dance is a religious ceremony, and 
therefore the dancers are Lamas, who are gorgeously 
dressed in embroidered robes and embroidered satin 
coats, crowned with horrible horned masks. Their 
absurd lungings and plungings are very monotonous 
until they become frenzied with excitement and 
dangerous to themselves. The drum beaters altered 
their time to suit the dancers. Amongst the watching 
crowd a lady pressed forward and allowed me to 
sketch her back view, showing her perak (head dress) 
and pig tail ending in the gaily coloured little tassels. 
The perak she wore was of bright red cloth, studded 
with unusually fine turquoises. The number, size 
and quality of the jewels worn on the perak show at 
a glance the wealth or poverty of the wearer. 

We had first entered Leh in the setting sun, 
and in the setting sun we left it on our long ride of 
19 marches back to Srinagar : and the World. 

THE END.