It is estimated that the cost to the manufacturers, exclusive of packing, is about thirty-two cash a catty, somewhat less than a cent and a half gold the pound. By the time the tea has reached Tachienlu it is sold at about five and a half cents a pound. At Batang the price is doubled, and at Lhasa quadrupled.
Timbuktu is not so famous as the sparkling jewels in the diadem of Asia Jerusalem and Mecca, Benares and Lhasa. The very name of each of these is, as it were, a vital portion of a great religion, and indeed almost stands for the religion itself. Timbuktu has scarcely any religion, or, more correctly, too many.
There are to be found not only nomads, but also settled people, dwelling in small villages of stone huts in the deeper river valleys, especially that of the Brahmaputra, and cultivating barley. A few towns also exist here; they are all small, the largest being Lhasa and Shigatse.
The Mongolian women in their huge coiffures and heavy silver caps like saucers on their heads were admiring the variegated silk ribbons and long chains of coral beads; an imposing big Mongol attentively examined a small herd of splendid horses and bargained with the Mongol zahachine or owner of the horses; a skinny, quick, black Tibetan, who had come to Urga to pray to the Living Buddha or, maybe, with a secret message from the other "God" in Lhasa, squatted and bargained for an image of the Lotus Buddha carved in agate; in another corner a big crowd of Mongols and Buriats had collected and surrounded a Chinese merchant selling finely painted snuff-bottles of glass, crystal, porcelain, amethyst, jade, agate and nephrite, for one of which made of a greenish milky nephrite with regular brown veins running through it and carved with a dragon winding itself around a bevy of young damsels the merchant was demanding of his Mongol inquirers ten young oxen; and everywhere Buriats in their long red coats and small red caps embroidered with gold helped the Tartars in black overcoats and black velvet caps on the back of their heads to weave the pattern of this Oriental human tapestry.
I know I begrudged him his further adventure into the wilds beyond Tachienlu. Months later I learned that although he did not reach Lhasa as he had hoped to do, his explorations in the little-known region between Assam and Tibet and China had won him much fame and the Gill Medal awarded by the Royal Geographical Society.
The most evil among mankind have not yet been born. "Chiang Chun Baron Ungern sent the young Prince Pounzig to seek out the King of the World but he returned with a letter from the Dalai Lama from Lhasa. When the Baron sent him a second time, he did not come back."
The Imperial Post-Office was in 1911 still under the same management as the customs service, and was marked by the same efficiency. All over China it had spread a network of post-routes, and by this time, unless the Revolution has upset things, as it probably has, there should be a regular mail service between Tachienlu and Batang and Lhasa.
Balaclava, the Indian Mutiny and Spion Kop each claimed a Gamelyn, and when the British troops returned from Lhasa in 1904 they left one Sergeant Royden Gamelyn resting in peace ten paces to the rear of the Pargo Keeling Gate. Of course Tim Gamelyn grew up in the shadow of these things. There was an old book in his father's oak kit box which Tim loved.
Europeans are ready enough to admit that Buddhism is changeable and easily corrupted but it is not singular in that respect . I doubt if Lhasa and Tantrism are further from the teaching of Gotama than the Papacy, the Inquisition, and the religion of the German Emperor, from the teaching of Christ.
But the clue, if we have followed it aright, does not stop at the Jalno; it leads straight back to the pope of Lhasa himself, the Grand Lama, of whom the Jalno is merely the temporary vicar.