Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/172

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ments against the Tibetans, let alone the still more extraordinary military feat of their victory over the Gurkhas of Nepal, when a force of seventy thousand men of the Middle Kingdom crossed the whole width of the most inaccessible country in the world, and, fighting at a distance of two thousand miles from their base, defeated the crack warriors of the East.

The China Inland Mission has a station at Tachienlu, but to my disappointment the two missionaries were away at the time of my visit, and although their Chinese helpers made me welcome, providing a place for me in one of the buildings of the mission compound, I felt it a real loss not to talk with men who would have had so much of interest to tell. Moreover, I had been looking forward to meeting my own kind once more after two weeks of Chinese society. Fortunately another traveller turned up in Tachienlu about the time I did, an English officer of the Indian army, returning to duty by a roundabout route after two years' leave at home. As he too was installed in the mission compound we soon discovered each other, and I had the pleasure of some interesting talk, and of really dining again. Eating alone in a smelly Chinese inn cannot by any stretch be called dining. I found that Captain Bailey had gone with the Younghusband expedition to Lhasa, and was now on his way to Batang with the hope of being able to cross Tibet from the Chinese side. We had an enjoyable