Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/352

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A WAYFARER IN CHINA

dition holds that the Great Conqueror lies buried on the summit of Bogda Ola, the mountain that towers over Urga, and no one may climb the height lest his sleeping be disturbed. But it is the vicious weakling who holds uncertain sway in the Sacred City, not the spirit of the mighty warrior, that dominates the Mongol of to-day.

Buddhism takes on many forms. On one side you have the gentle, intelligent monk of Burma, and the kindly superstitious bonze of China. But that black travesty of Buddhism, Lamaism, seems to offer no redeeming feature; brutish in Ladakh, vicious and cruel in Tibet, it is debasing and weakening in its effects upon the Mongol, who comes of finer and stronger stock than either Ladakhi or Tibetan. But he sometimes succeeds in being a good fellow in spite of his religion.

The first day of my stay in Urga I devoted to repairing the damages of the journey across the desert. Oh, the luxury of plenty of hot water, of leisure, of privacy. I scrubbed and I mended, but above all I rested. And if I tired of that, there was always plenty to see just outside my door. The house where I was so kindly entertained was the home of a rich Mongol trader, a man of many deeds and few words. It was built around a large courtyard enclosed in a strong stockade some twelve feet high, the buildings forming part of the enclosing wall. On the long side of the