ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD.
SVENT HEDIN'S ADVENTURES. MEu Our Special Correspondent) iDONBON, February 12. A very distinguished explorer ie in London just now in the person of Dr. Sven Hedin, whose expedition and discoveries in the "ForDidden Land," Tibet, have gained him a world-wide reputation. Dr. Sven Hedin returned 'to Europe from the East a few weeks ago, and this week he lectured before the Royal Geographcal at Queen's Hall on his adventures in Tibet. A crowded audience assembled to listen, to the man who, in the words of the president of the R.G.S., has done more than any single individual has ever done to add to the knowledge of Central Asia possessed by the civilised world.
Dr. Hedin described Tibet as being like a sea, the gigantic waves of which, driven up 'by northern or southern -winds, have been changed into 3tone in the moment of their worst fury. On the ocean every ninth wave is said to be higher than the rest—in Tibet the same is the case with tfie mountain ranges. The route across Tibet looked "so "awfully nice and comfortable on the map," said the explorer; but in reality it was a very serious and difficult thing to cross the "whole of Tibet from north to south. He only lost one man in the expedition, but out of 79 ponies and mules, and another 30 ponies hired for the first month, only six animals got through alive. The explorer was constantly feeing turned back by the Tibetans. They were polite but firm, and told him he must go back. (But he always contrived to ■turn again and strike northwards on another route. The authorities at Lhassa were at a loss what to do with him. He was tEe most difficult man to get rid of that they had ever known—except Col. Younghusband, and even he had withdrawn voluntarily after entering Lhassa with his British expedition. To divert suspicion, Dr. Hedin travelled in disguise as a Ladaki merchant, and with a new caravan and new meS plunged deeper and aeeper into the heart of Asia. Whenever the expedition met with Tibetans, Dr. Hedin had to hide in his tent. His face was stained Waclc zo improve his disguise. After a terrible journey at enormous altitudes, in a labyrinth of snow-clad mountains and sterile, desolate valleys, where ponies and mules died off like flies, T>r. Hedin succeeded in mapping out a big stretch of hitherto unexplored country, and in March of last year turned South again.
While camping in a valley on April 24, eight Tibetftios appeared, and said the authorities suspected that Hedin Sahib was amongst the caravan party. Deeming it prudent, Dr. Hedin made himself known, and after a few minutes they were all friends, joking as if their meeting had been the most natural thing in the world. "I had a delicious feeling of freedom now," he said. Since I was caught again by the Tibetans. I was no longer a prisoner in my own tent. I did not need any more to paint myself black as a ilorian. I could ■wash—well. I won't tell what the washwater looked like after the first bath!" If he had not been discovered. Dr. Hedin would have continued eastwards, but he was obliged to alter his plans. This did not prevent some most important and interesting Transhimalayan crossings being undertaken by the adventurous explorer, covering a lengthened period. — ; In conclusion, the lecturer had same valuable remarks to offer about Transihimalaya, which, he said, "as a wnole geographical unity is a new conquest on our earth, a new geographical region and signification, that has been more neglected than even the 'moon. Himalaya has always been regarded as the strongest possible fortres t s for India against eventual dangers from the north—let us not forget that this fortress wall, this natural defence of solid granite, is double, and it should be rather amusing to see a northern enemy tf.v and jump over those walls with the Indus-Brahmaputra grave between them.
"Even light field artillery could only with the greatest difficulties be transported over Tibet, and a strategical railway should be an absurdity. In the great latitudinal vajleys there is no hindrance of ground for a railway, but I cannot see how the material could be brought there, and then—those valleys do not lead to India. I have tried with camels, highland ponies, Tibettan mules, yaks, and sheep, but as a rule one crossing takes 90 or 93 por cent of the caravan. Often one camps at a spring where the grass is just sufficient for one's animals; but how should it be sufficient for an army? I think it is difficult to find another country that has got—from strategical and defensive points of view—such a favourable geographical situation as India, and all the fears expressed by Vambery or General McGregor are, to use rather a polite word, much exaggerated." Speaking of the Tibetans, the doctor said: "I love them, I feel the deepest sympathy with them; they were always kind and polite and hospitable to mc, and went ac far as they possibly could without being disloyal to their country; and after half a day's acquaintance we were as if we had known each other from childhood. Tfie Lopliks used to call mc Padishaham, or 'Your Majeaty,' and, of course, that title was more than enough for my ambition; but the Tibetans of Bongba called mc always Rinpotche, or 'Your Holiness.'"
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