"This is the most stable and hardest of metals," I said. "Let it be the sign of your glory and strength, Hutuktu!"
The Pandita thanked me and invited me to visit him. When I had recovered a little, I went to his house, which was arranged in European style: electric lights, push bells and telephone. He feasted me with wine and sweets and introduced me to two very interesting personages, one an old Tibetan surgeon with a face deeply pitted by smallpox, a heavy thick nose and crossed eyes. He was a peculiar surgeon, consecrated in Tibet. His duties consisted in treating and curing Hutuktus when they were ill and . . . in poisoning them when they became too independent or extravagant or when their policies were not in accord with the wishes of the Council of Lamas of the Living Buddha or the Dalai Lama. By now Pandita Hutuktu probably rests in eternal peace on the top of some sacred mountain, sent thither by the solicitude of his extraordinary court physician. The martial spirit of Pandita Hutuktu was very unwelcome to the Council of Lamas, who protested against the adventuresomeness of this "Living God."
Pandita liked wine and cards. One day when he was in the company of Russians and dressed in a European suit, some Lamas came running to announce that divine service had begun and that the "Living God" must take his place on the altar to be prayed to but he had gone out from his abode and was playing cards! Without any confusion Pandita drew his red mantle of the Hutuktu over his European coat and long grey trousers and allowed the shocked Lamas to carry their "God" away in his palanquin.
Besides the surgeon-poisoner I met at the Hutuktu's a lad of thirteen years, whose youthfulness, red robe and cropped hair led me to suppose he was a Bandi or student servant in the home of the Hutuktu; but it turned out otherwise. This boy was the first Hubilgan, also an incarnate Buddha, an artful teller of fortunes and the successor of Pandita Hutuktu. He was drunk all the time and a great card player, always making side-splitting jokes that greatly offended the Lamas.
That same evening I made the acquaintance of the second Hubilgan who called on me, the real administrator of Zain Shabi, which is an independent dominion subject directly to the Living Buddha. This Hubilgan was a serious and ascetic man of thirty-two, well educated and deeply learned in Mongol lore. He knew Russian and read much in that language, being interested chiefly in the life and stories of other peoples. He had a high respect for the creative genius of the American people and said to me:
"When you go to America, ask the Americans to come to us and lead us out from the darkness that surrounds us. The Chinese and Russians will lead us to destruction and only the Americans can save us."
It is a deep satisfaction for me to carry out the request of this influential Mongol, Hubilgan, and to urge his appeal to the American people. Will you not save this honest, uncorrupted but dark, deceived and oppressed people? They should not be allowed to perish, for within their souls they carry a great store of strong moral forces. Make of them a cultured people, believing in the verity of humankind; teach them to use the wealth of their land; and the ancient people of Jenghiz Khan will ever be your faithful friends.
When I had sufficiently recovered, the Hutuktu invited me to travel with him to Erdeni Dzu, to which I willingly agreed. On the following morning a light and comfortable carriage was brought for me. Our trip lasted five days, during which we visited Erdeni Dzu, Karakorum, Hoto-Zaidam and Hara-Balgasun. All these are the ruins of monasteries and cities erected by Jenghiz Khan and his successors, Ugadai Khan and Kublai in the thirteenth century. Now only the remnants of walls and towers remain, some large tombs and whole books of legends and stories.