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The Elixir Of Life
by [?]

“Rengee Sing was the embodiment of courtesy when he bowed low and handed me my receipt.

“‘My dear sir,’ he said, ‘I shall now be happy to explain to you anything that I can.’

“‘I would like,’ I said, ‘if possible, to see the original papyrus which I understand was found with the Elixir, and I also would like to learn more fully the details as to how and where this Elixir was obtained.’

“Rengee Sing bowed, and, going to the corner of the room, opened a small fireproof safe, taking from it a roll of what proved after being unrolled to be an ancient papyrus manuscript written in the Sanscrit language. As far as I could make out it seemed to be the original of which the printed circular was a translation. It certainly appeared ancient enough.

“‘This manuscript,’ said Sing, ‘and the box of powder was obtained by my brother and given to me at his death. He died from the effects of a fall from his horse, which broke three ribs and otherwise injured him internally. He never would have died except from the accident, as he had taken several doses of the Elixir. Just how long it will enable a man to live we do not know, but certainly one hundred and fifty years and perhaps even two hundred years. He obtained it in the following manner: My brother had long been desirous of visiting Lassa, which is, as you know, the wonderful capital of Thibet, but was unable to do so until a few years before his death, when he accompanied a Hindoo who went there for the purpose of making certain reports to a foreign government. His name I am not at liberty to disclose, but his report was simply signed Punjaub A.B. My dear brother described Lassa to me very minutely, and from all accounts it must be the most wonderful city in the world. As you probably know, no European or Christian has ever been allowed to enter within its walls. According to my brother’s description the city is situated in a fertile plain on the Sampo river some six hundred miles north of Calcutta, and has a population of fully sixty thousand persons. The streets are wide, and the houses have their walls whitened and the frames of the doors and windows colored red and yellow.

“‘Nearly west of the city, connected with it by a splendid avenue, is the mountain of Buddha, where now stands the temple of the Grand Lama. This temple is four stories high, and therein dwells the Grand Lama and his High Priests. Some idea of the magnificence of this temple may be obtained when I tell you that its great pillars are covered with plates of pure gold. The Grand Lama can live forever, and many people believe he does so, but he really does not. After a certain time he reincarnates himself into a new body. All of the priests, however, are very old. It is claimed the Pandita is at least one hundred and fifty years old. The Grand Lama has about him two priests of the highest grades, one the Pandita and the other Tchoiji. The Grand Lama sits upon an altar or throne for hours at a time, clothed in gold-woven cloth and jewels of fabulous value. Over his head is a magnificent peacock’s tail composed entirely of gold and precious stones. It is the custom of the Grand Lama to receive persons who desire to receive his blessing at certain hours of the day. For a small amount of money one is allowed to bow before him; for a little more one may touch his garment, and receive his silent blessing; but for the sum of twenty rupees he will speak to the person and touch him with a little wand. The Punjaub A.B. in describing his interview states that the Grand Lama talks in a hoarse voice which he tries to make as much as possible like God’s.