Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/346

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A WAYFARER IN CHINA

pilgrims each year. And what do they see?—until late years, just a feeble, untaught child. When the Bogdo dies, his soul is reincarnated in the body of a newly born male child. For a hundred years or more that child has been always Tibetan, not Mongolian; probably the Chinese Government knows why. And the lamas who swarm the sacred encampment, debased representatives of a debased religion, probably could tell, if they would, why, in the past, the child has never lived to be a man. Furthermore, the Russian Consul-General at Urga probably knows the secret of the long life of the present incumbent, who is well past the time that has proved so fatal to his predecessors.

Politics sordid and gruesome are active within the gaily decorated walls of the sacred lamassery. But all that the outsider sees is a weak, debased-looking man whose vices should soon end his days even if he escapes the lamas' villainy. Formerly he amused himself with Western toys, photography, and especially motor-cars. It is true the millions of Mongols look to the Gigin as their divine leader, but after all there are ranks even in divinityship, and when the Dalai Lama, fleeing from Lhasa before the Younghusband expedition in 1904, took refuge here, they promptly forgot the smaller god to worship at the shrine of a first-rate one, and the Gigin' s nose was put out of joint, and stayed so until his distinguished guest had