Sunday, 6 September 2009

Lhassa, Tibet 01-09-1904

My Dear Bertie,

Not very much news to chronicle. There is still some doubt as to whether we shall get down on the 14th-16th. The only excitement here has been the Lhassa Sky Meeting which finished up with three days racing. My pony came in yesterday first in the 12-1 class and was second in the Lhassa Handicap on the second day so we did pretty well. He was made favourite in the Lotteries -50/- & 32/- & 42/- which meant for the whole ticket 100/- 64/- &84/- - the lottery being about 300/- so I didn't win much on the whole.

We now have a Rifle Meeting on - a few days ago Mr Claude White, Political Officer - took a group of the General Staff Officers of the Lhassa Column - so I hope to be able to get a copy eventually. Mr White has a very fine camera and I think is taking pictures for the Government of India.

No parcels have been received since we left Gyantsee - so I have not received your cigarettes yet - we are all reduced to coarse Tibetan tobacco leaf - which some of the pipe smokers have managed to so smoke a little - and some very bad 'Pedro' cigarettes which one can buy in the Bazaar - but are mostly mouldy from being years in Lhassa. Everything in Lhassa is old, even to the eggs which are mostly "good in parts" - generally we have them fried as the opening process takes place in the kitchen - I one morning said I would have my eggs boiled. They appeared but after opening five and finding every one bad, I gave up the process.

We have had lots of rain here in fact every night. Everything is quiet except we had an attack by a Lama on two Sikh fellows in the Bazaar the other morning. One fellow was badly slashed over the head with a sword - the other - Kelly - carried only slightly in the head. Next day we publicly hung the Lama and left him hanging for 24 hours as a warning to others.

I have collected a lot of curios of sorts, about £15 pounds worth which will do for presents when I get home. Some of my friends have written to ask me to spend money on curios for them but I cannot really manage it as I can't transport them down, and another thing is - all curios of any value are at once snapped up and are very difficult to obtain as we are not allowed to enter Lhassa except as escort to the General or Younghusband, which have only once formed. All the Medical Officers visited the Lhassa Medical Hall and found it a great fraud. None of the "professors" had the least idea of Medicine or Surgery.

Hoping you are fit

Yours affectionately

Cecil Wilmot Mainprise.

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