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sent opportunity to recover the unredeemed territories. Chinese troops had crossed the frontier: a casus belli had arisen unsought by the Tibetans, thrust upon them by the Commissioner's action. The chance must not be lost. They looked to the Kalon Lama to do what they conceived to be his duty, and the opposition, of course, was prepared to

to Lhasa, and at Lhasa political of the first school as a heavenopinion was divided into two main schools-the one, which we may term the modern or nationalist school, intolerant of the Chinese connection, and in favour of bringing the ethnological and political frontiers of Tibet together by force of arms, of recovering, that is, from China all Tibetaninhabited territory still in her hands; and the other, the conservatives or reactionaries, anxious to put the clock back, and to see the former relations of China and Tibet restored. From the point of view of this latter school, Tibet was too weak to stand alone, and the Chinese connection presented itself to them in the light of a bulwark against the infiltration of European influence, which they conceived to be subversive of the civilisation of their country. In fact, they regarded our ideas of life much in the light we regard Bolshevism.

These two schools, of which the army and the new officialdom generally was roughly the stronghold of the one and the priesthood of the other, were of almost equal political influence, and policy swayed between them, the one or the other prevailing in this or that matter according as the sovereign threw his weight into this or that scale. The Kalon Lama, like his master, was identified with neither the one nor the other party.

The frontier crisis which had now materialised could not but present itself to the extremists

rend him if he construed his duty in that light. It was even deeper than just that. Such a clear-cut issue is hardly the rule in oriental politics. What if it should suit some powerful clique in the one party or in the other that he should do the very opposite to what their policy seemed to demand? There would be repercussions; he would be judged by results. Suppose, for instance, he took the heavensent opportunity to push forward the frontier, and China, stung at last to vigorous action, recoiled in force and re-established herself in Tibet? suppose he refrained, and fell from power to make way for ambition?


A pretty pretty fix altogether. Whatever he did, the storm would break over him. Even if there had been time enough, he could not in any event have divested himself of the responsibility, and thrown it on to his sovereign in a matter so bound up with odium and faction as this. At the most he might have privately discovered His Holiness' wishes

and carried them out, bearing the brunt himself. As it was, he had not even this prop.

What ought he to do? As a Buddhist priest he was, on principle, opposed to war, but that did not prevent him waging it when it was thrust upon him. It was he who had commanded the Tibetan armies in the successful campaign of 1917-18. He had done his best to avoid those hostilities, but the Chinese General concerned, instigated by a Tibetan prelate of the pro-Chinese party, had repelled his overtures of peace, and believing that he had only to advance to find widespread support amongst the Tibetans themselves, opened his campaign to restore the Chinese position in Tibet.

On that occasion hostilities were forced upon the Kalon Lama, but was that the case now?

Surely there was no parallel between the two cases? A few weeks at most and the Commissioner's convoy would have gone, and everything would be once more as it was, always excepting, of course, the opportunity lost. Was he justified in plunging the frontier into hostilities, in bringing upon the people all the horrors of war, in casting the Tibetan question once more into the melting-pot just for that? He came to the conclusion that he was not, but decided, before committing himself irrevocably, to see in what light I regarded the matter. I was the local representative of the third party to the Tibetan question, and

I would be able, in my detached position, to give an opinion independent of all considerations alien to the strict merits of the case. I had not yet at that moment got back from my trip south, but I was due in a few days. He withstood the pressure of his entourage, and provisionally instructed his commanders in the field to take no action perding further orders, which would shortly be forthcoming.

He put the matter to me immediately I arrived, and I told him I thought the convoy should be ignored. He was greatly relieved to find my opinion was identical with his own, confirmed his provisional orders, and the incident dissolved itself in peace, to the infinite relief of the people of Eastern Tibet.

It was afterwards claimed that I was responsible for the whole matter, that I had overruled the Kalon Lama and prevented him from taking the opportunity the casus belli afforded; but this reading of the situation reveals an entire misconception both of the Kalon Lama's character and of the nature of my position. The Kalon Lama was not an easy man to move, nor had I any concrete authority in the matter at all. My position on the frontier was simply that of a neutral, friendly alike to the Chinese and to the Tibetan authorities, somebody they could consult or use as a channel of communication if they so desired; but there was no

obligation whatsoever, official or moral, on the Kalon Lama or the Commissioner to take my advice in anything at all. In brief, I was simply a political convenience, representing the intangible spirit of mediation, of which they could avail them selves if they chose.

My advice, however, in this particular case did, in fact, dominate the situation; for, as it afterwards transpired, had my opinion been in favour of military action, or even if I had refused to give an opinion at all, the Kalon Lama would not have been able to withstand the pressure to which he was subjected, but when he found that I was in favour of peace he was able to remove that pressure, and at the same time to divest himself, by shifting it on to me, of the responsibility for the course of action he desired to follow. It was a master-stroke of policy which extricated him from a quagmire without putting any one else into it, for I was presumably beyond the reach of political factions.

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"but occult influence." Magic -I had heard of cases of it and of the process, the long incantations through which fiends are invoked and set to work upon an objective. It takes some doing, of course, and as often as not the spirits refuse to come from the vasty deep at the theurgist's call, but once they come they must have a living organism to obsess, and the only hope of the unfortunate objective is, by suitable counter incantations, to deflect them from himself into his live-stock, an equally laborious and uncertain process. "Surely," I replied, "Heaven could have protected His servant ? " Not if his course was run,' was his answer, and I thought of the death of another of the divine ruler's lieutenants, shot through a tent-flap at a banquet. "I have had," he went on to say, ten thousand prayers said for you in the lamasery." I could not quite see why I should be involved, but thanked him and added that if my course was run the incantations were, according to what he had just said, useless, and if it was not, presumably the demons could not make it so, to which he replied that a curse was not necessarily concerned solely with death. His prayers on my behalf were generally considered to have been effective, for during the next few months I had a remarkable series of unexpected casualties amongst my livestock, losing no less than two cows, a pony, two bear-cubs,

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and what explanation more logical than that they absorbed the fiends intended for me? I cannot say that I rejoiced particularly in this happy outcome; on the other hand, I have sometimes found myself wondering if a fiend or two didn't perhaps get left behind after all.

a wolf-cub, a dog, and a num- people confidently expected him ber of rabbits and chickens, to be followed by the other two, one each year. They, however, bore their sentence of death with complete composure, and survived. "The talk of children," the Commissioner said to me with his grim staccato laugh; and, thinking of the hundreds of men he had sent to a violent death, I felt he had quite a basis for his confidence. Surely if spirits had any power, he would have been dead long ago. There would, indeed, appear to be a sad flaw somewhere or other in this theurgy business, but, to be honest with the persons who believe in these things, I may as well say that of the five of us concerned in this incident, two are dead, and the other three prematurely out of office.

It seems to me very doubtful that anybody ever went to the trouble of laying a curse on me, but that one was laid on the Commissioner and his delegates would appear to be indisputable, a prophecy coming through a famous oracle that within three years all three of them would be dead. One of them, the King of Chala, died within the year in tragic circumstances, as I have related in my portrait of him; and the



THOMAS GRAY, in a letter to his friend Wharton, relating that he had taken his degree of Bachelor in Civil Law, adds a postscript:


Won't You come to the Jubilee Dr Long is to dance a Saraband and Hornpipe of his own Invention without lifting either Foot once from the Ground."

The allusion to the Jubilee has not been explained by the editors. The letter is dated "Dec. 27, Cambridge." Mason assigned the letter to 1742, and Mr Tovey, on a mistake as to the year of Gray's degree, to 1744. It is now clear that Gray was admitted Bachelor in December 1743, and in this year Pembroke Hall (of which Wharton was a fellow), according to the dates then accepted, had been founded for just four hundred years. The mention of the Jubilee, in connection with Dr Long, Master of Pembroke, prompts the suggestion that Gray was referring to some festive celebration of this four hundredth anniversary. The suggestion has been confirmed by the recent discovery of a poem, "A Secular Ode on the Jubilee at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1743." The

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The celebration, which otherwise unknown, thus brings into conjunction two Cambridge poets, both associated with Pembroke College: Gray, as a fellow commoner, who lived within its walls from 1756 until his death; and Smart, admitted sizar, and later scholar and fellow of the College. They were men of very different character, and in later years had little liking for each other. Gray's opinion of Smart is shown in his letters: oral tradition still preserves a scurrilous description of Gray's precise gait, which is attributed to Smart.

Thomas Gray, "a little waddling Freshman," in his own description, entered Peterhouse in 1734, and was elected scholar soon after. He resided until 1738, but from a keen distaste for mathematics and philosophy, the main subjects of academic study, he gave up the idea of taking a degree, and devoted himself to literature,

1 I am indebted to Mr C. D. Abbott, Research Student of New College, Oxford, for calling my attention to this poem and furnishing me with a copy. To him also I owe the quotations from the reviews of 'The Song to David.'

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