The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.
The march to Lhasa commenced today. As we had been asked to lunch at Tering by the Rajah, we could not make an early, start, and so left Gyantse at 9-30 A.M., seen off by the Khenchung and Abbot, and later by the Western Jongpen. The Eastern Jongpen Tendong by name is accompanying us as guide to Lhasa. We were accompanied as far as Tering by Mounted escort of M. I. On arrival there at 11 A.M., the Rajah and his family (wife, son and daughter-in-law) conducted us into a nice sitting room where we sat in easy chairs and sofas round a long low table, and for the next hour or more were regaled with chang, tea, and sweet biscuits. We were anxious to get on with our lunch and resume the march, but these functions cannot be hurried. At length lunch was served, first dish after dish of small stuff. In all perhaps fifteen different dishes of highly spiced meats, eggs, vegetables etc. After these had been circulated for perhaps half an hour, the "Piece de resistance" of spaghetti (local make) and gravy and a little meat was brought in a bowl of ii to each person. It is the etiquette to have one's bowl refilled three times. If one eat all this one would not require another meal for 48 hours. All the food is eaten with ivory chopsticks which require much practice to mani-pulate with ease. A China spoon is provided to help the more liquid dishes with, otherwise everyone dips in turn into each dish as it comes round and the morsel is conveyed straight to the mouth.
After the spaghetti the table was cleared and chang and liqueurs (crème--de-menthe being the favourite) were circulated.
On the road to Lhasa.
We entered a gradually narrowing valley and reached Gobshi just in time to escape a thunder and rain storm which however did not last 'long. Luckily one tent was up, and the remainder soon after.
The ponies we ride are mostly Mongolian bred ponies brought to Lhasa for sale and thence to Gyantse. They are trained to amble or "pace" on the march ' to Lhasa by tieing their legs together in a certain way.
A fast 'ambler' is highly prized by the Tibetan Officials and nobles.
It is usual to have a gaily woven carpet saddle cloth under the saddle and another similar but smaller carpet cloth over the saddle.
The total transport for our march to Lhasa is about 400 loads; 67 pack animals have gone ahead of us, and we have 133 with us each animal carrying roughly two one maund loads about half the animals are ponies or mules, and half axe donkeys. Many of these small donkeys are made to carry two maunds.
Author: Philip Neame [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]
Page Reference: Pt III p.2