Thursday, 23 July 2009

Peter Jong near Lhasa, 7 marches from Gyantsee, 23-07-1904

My dear Delia,

Here we are now only three marches from the Sangpo River - how we are to cross this no one seems to exactly know. Since Karalo we have met with no more opposition and I really think the Tibetans are now tired of trying to oppose us. The last two days have been very wet and miserable. It is no fun arriving in camp in a perfect deluge of rain and having to pitch tents. The ground is so sopping wet that directly you unpack your bedding it gets wet also and covered with mud. Though it is the end of July, the hills all around are covered in snow and the wind blowing off them very chilly.

I received your mail letter and was very pleased to hear that you had celebrated my birthday so happily. I hope your own birthday was spent in as jovial fashion. I can quite imagine that Amy is a quite terrific guest to entertain as she would be delighted to give you assistance in the house where necessary and so thoroughly enjoys any show in town. When I hear of your little trips and of your nice pretty little dining room with the sun shining in of a morning, how I long to be home once more and have a little "easy", even a good breakfast of bacon and egg or some of that fine Light Dinner Ale from the shop at the corner of the road seems at present to be Elysium. There is no doubt "the stomach rules the man".

With the reinforcements that came up from India about 2 months ago, there came a Church of England padre who used to celebrate mass with us and the Battery. He was a fine looking, typical stout looking clergy and we all found him very nice. But poor fellow he got no further than Gyantsee. The hardships of the march and the plain food were too much for him. The day before we left - Gyantsee - he said to me. "For goodness sake - put me on the Sick List and leave me behind. I can't stand this life any more. I shall be eternally grateful to you if you do this for me." Well I did and he was left behind and we are now Padre-less. We often laugh over the Reverend Cola from Darjeeling who arrived so "chirpy" and keen to go up to Lhasa and in the end took the first opportunity to go back, all enthusiasm blighted by the hardship of the advance. His was a case of Stomach really. He was so afraid of starving that he filled himself up with anything that was before him with the results that he was always suffering from the qualms of indigestion. I knew he was ill and used to watch him eating with dismay - meat I was absolutely afraid to touch so hard and uncooked was it. He then told me the reason. We are now alongside a huge lake which extends for miles - Yamdok by name - and we have managed to catch some fish which are very acceptable as a change.

I was glad to hear about the Anglo French Exploration Company being all right - when they told me the shares had gone down 18/- per share, I had an idea they were only £1 shares to start with. The more to spend when I get home!!! There is some talk of the Mission only going on to Lhassa with a Small escort I hope this will not be the case. At all events I expect I shall go as they must make the escort principally European Troops and will require my Hospital. Well I must close as the post goes away by Mounted Infantry tomorrow morning. We march to Tamalung tomorrow, 12 miles. Much love, yours affectionately Cecil

Just now sent on 10/8/04

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