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Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet by by William Henry Knight

Part 3 out of 5

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water. While making a short cut back to breakfast up a precipitous
face of concrete stone, I very nearly finished my wanderings in Thibet
with an unpleasantly abrupt full stop. I had nearly reached the top,
which was higher than I had imagined, when the treacherous lumps
of stone to which I was clinging, came away in my hands, and, with
a tremendous crash, down I came in a perfect storm of dirt, dust,
and stones, very much to the fright and astonishment of F. and the
mate, who were quietly finishing their toilet below. A broken bone
in such a place as Egnemo would have been a serious misfortune, and
it was therefore a matter of considerable satisfaction to find that,
although half-stunned and doing but little credit in appearance to
my recent washing, I had escaped with no worse injuries than torn
hands and what the doctors would call abrasions of the side and elbow.

AUGUST 24. -- Marched as usual, and reached Nurila about noon. From
the hilliness of the road and the laziness of the coolies combined,
they did not arrive until two P.M., so that we breakfasted at three
o'clock. To occupy the time, however, we took advantage of the
products of the country, and set to work upon a quantity of apples,
and having both thirst and hunger to assuage, I think we got through
about sixteen each before the kitchen appeared. While bathing we were
suddenly caught in a pouring shower of rain, which obliged us to snatch
up our only garments and beat a hasty and not to say dignified retreat
into a little den of a water-mill, where we crouched until it was
over. After the rain had stopped, a curious fall of stones and rocks
took place down the precipitous face of mountain which bounded the
opposite side of the Indus to our camp. The noise and the commotion
the stones made in their descent, reminded one exactly of volleys of
grape, and to any traveller unfortunate enough to get in their way,
the results would probably have been quite as disastrous.

Our larder having been low of late, we effected the purchase of a
sheep here, for which we paid two shillings.

AUGUST 25. -- Left for Lamieroo. The khitmutgar, having reported
himself sick to-day, we mounted him on a pony, the efficiency of that
branch of the service being of vital importance to the future prospects
of the expedition. Having discovered, by yesterday's experience, that
nature abhors a vacuum, and no apples being forthcoming at Lamieroo,
we halted for breakfast at the village of Kulchee.

Here I tried hard to purchase a curiously contrived praying-wheel
from an old Lama, but without success. My old acquaintance, the gopa,
however, brought me one for sale, but it was in such a dilapidated
state, and so highly valued as church property, that I let him keep
his shaky religious curiosity at his own price. Leaving Kulchee,
we crossed the Indus at a mud fort, and bid the roaring, dirty river
a final good-bye. Near this the bhistie and khitmutgar, journeying
together, lost the path, and found themselves well on the road to
Iscardo before discovering their mistake. The road to-day, like
all our return journeys, appeared twice the length it did on first
acquaintance. The hills, too, were very severe on the coolies, and
it was fortunate we halted for breakfast on the road.

At Lamieroo, we found a great change in the temperature; a strong cold
breeze blowing, and a general winteriness prevailing, which affected
our retainers considerably more than it did ourselves. The Q.M.G. in
particular, not having entirely recovered his health, and being low in
the article of tobacco, still believed himself to be dying, and was
most unusually low-spirited and down in the mouth. As it threatened
rain, we pitched our camp close to an old serai, in order to allow
our servants to ensconce themselves under a roof, and to derive the
full benefit of their wood fire, which they lost no time in kindling.

AUGUST 26. -- Exactly a mouth to-day since leaving Sirinugger. The
live stock begin to show signs of time on their constitutions;
the four surviving ducks wandering about, with a melancholy sort of
consciousness that the mysterious fate that has overtaken their late
companions is also hanging over themselves, and appearing entirely
changed in consequence from the joyous birds they used to be on first
starting for their Thibetian travels. To-day being Sunday, we all
enjoyed a rest; and the feeling on waking at dawn, and remembering that
we were not to be rudely turned out of bed, was quite a delightful
and novel sensation. The wind, too, was unusually chill, and as it
made nothing of the trifling obstacle presented by the walls of our
tent, we were some time before we finally emerged from among the
bed-clothes. The people here we found employed in PULLING their corn
crops, and stacking them upon the roofs of their houses. At Suspul,
although much hotter than here, they had hardly begun to take in
their crops, and at Ladak, the harvest was untouched when we left.

In the afternoon, while rambling about the crow's nests of
Lamieroo, I discovered by chance a very curious temple in course of
construction, and a number of Lamas and Zemindars superintending the
proceedings. The principal decorative work was being carried on by a
Chinese-looking, pig-tailed artist, evidently not a local celebrity,
who was embellishing the walls most profusely with scenes, portrayed
in the purest style of pre-Raphaelite colouring. The figures in these
had only been furnished with flesh-coloured spots where their faces
were to be, and the foreign "pigtail" was employed, seated on a high
platform, in furnishing them with features and casts of expression
in accordance with the spirit of the scenes which they helped
to compose. This he did certainly with very great skill, and the
operation was a most interesting one to watch. The floor was covered
with pigments, and materials of all kinds, and the little community,
in the midst of the surrounding apparent solitude, were working away
like a hive of bees. They appeared to have a hive-like dislike also
of the approach of a stranger, and one old Lama, with a twisted mat
of hair erected on the top of his head -- a drone of the hive --
took a particular dislike to me, and scowled savagely as I quietly
examined the curious designs upon the walls.

The eternal "Um mani panee" formed a very large part of the decoration,
being painted over the walls in every variety of coloured letters. In
the inner part of the temple was a large coloured statue, with eight
arms, and two-and-twenty heads.

The heads were placed in threes, looking every way, in the shape of
a pyramid, a single head crowning the whole.[29] One of the hands
held a bow, but the implements contained in the others were entirely
Buddhist in character, and to me unknown.

Behind this figure was a star, with innumerable radiating arms from
the centre, while from the points of the fingers were five other
rows of hands, continuing the star-like circle. These were in half
relief on the wall, the figure itself standing out some feet, as
if to receive and appropriate the offerings of corn, flowers, oil,
&c., which already began to be laid at its feet. Among the litter
I remarked several tame partridges and "chickore" walking about,
probably sacred to the newly installed divinities.

The whole scene was a very curious one, and not the less so from being
entirely unexpected, and occurring in such an apparently deserted
spot. One might have explored the place a dozen times without hitting
upon the hive of workmen, and, even when discovered, the excellence
of the designs and workmanship in so uncivilized a region, was in
itself remarkable.

Some of the paintings were of rather startling a character to find
occupying places in the order of church decoration, or indeed any
other, but they were not perhaps more unsuitable than many I have
seen in more avowedly civilized temples of worship.

AUGUST 27. -- We found it very hard, in spite of our day of rest,
to turn out early again this morning. The wind was sharp and cold,
and the temperature altogether decidedly changed from that we had
been having. The head of the cooking department being still sick,
proceeded on a pony, and, having a certain air of the Sepoy about him,
very grand and imposing he looked. The road being long and up hill,
we breakfasted at a tomb in the pass of Fotoola, reaching Khurboo
about three P.M.

In the evening, the comptroller of the household made his appearance
upon the cook's pony, having from want of tobacco, and other causes,
become done up on the road. The bhistie alone holds out, and seems,
as far as servants go, the only hope of the expedition. To-day's
march has again spoiled F.'s and my own lately amending complexions,
the icy wind and the burning sun together completely blistering our
faces. In the evening we enjoyed a lovely sunset, which tinted the
magnificent range of mountains we had crossed with the most beautiful
hues imaginable.

AUGUST 28. -- Another bitterly cold morning. Got away well considering,
and arrived at Waka in time for a late breakfast in the little
native serai, where we had before halted. Mr. Rajoo and the cook
came in with an air of great magnificence. They were each mounted,
and each pony was provided with a well-grown foal, so that the two
departments may be said to have performed their march with four horses.

AUGUST 29. -- Descended the Waka Valley, leaving Shergol to our left,
and thereby saving about a kos and a half of already explored road.

Breakfasted under a shady grove of pollards, at the little village
of Lotzum, a cold refreshing bathe in a snow torrent enabling us
to do full justice to our cook's very excellent performances in
this line. That dignitary was upon his legs again to-day, and Rajoo
convalescent once more. Arriving about three P.M. at our old ground
at Pushkoom, we found the peaceful, quiet-looking little spot we
had left, a scene of the greatest noise and bustle imaginable. We
were now received in due form by the Kardar, and Thanadar of Kurgil,
not to mention the Wuzeer, or Vizier of Pushkoom. This dignitary had
formerly been its Rajah, but during Gulab Singh's time was reduced
to the post of Vizier, or Prime Minister to nobody in particular,
with a salary of some thirty rupees per annum. Where our last camp
was pitched, we found a circle of natives congregated, some standing,
some sitting on their haunches, but all accompanying to the full extent
of their voices -- at the same time clapping time with their hands --
the efforts of a band of six or seven artists on the pipe and tabor,
who kept up a quavering strain of what they doubtless believed to be
music. To the united melody thus produced, a string of a dozen or so
of ladies, in their full war paint, were decorously going through the
monotonous evolutions of a popular dance, waving their arms about,
gesticulating, and at the same time lingering, as it were, over the
ground, and comporting themselves in that staid, yet fitfully lively
way, which seems to be the general style of Eastern dancing. They
were attired most picturesquely, and evidently in their very fullest
ball costume, so that we were fortunate in hitting upon such a good
opportunity of seeing their gala manners and customs. They all wore
caps of some kind, either of a small, close-fitting pattern, like a
fez, or in the shape of a large, and very ultra Scotch cap, black,
and very baggy; these were hung round with little silver ornaments,
something in the shape of wine labels for decanters, but studded
with turquoises; some of them, also, wore brooches, generally formed
of three cornelians, or turquoises, in a row. The broad bands of
turquoise, worn usually on the forehead, were for the time disrated
from their post of honour, and were suspended instead from the nape of
the neck, over a square piece of stiff cloth, embroidered with strings
of red beads. Round the shoulders, and hanging low, in order to show
off the turquoises, lumps of amber, and other family jewels, were
the sheepskin cloaks, inseparable from Thibetian female costume; they
were, however, of larger size than those of every day life, and were
gorgeously decorated outside in red and blue, the FUR merely appearing
at the edges. Below this, everything merged in some mysterious way
into the variegated sheepskin boots of the country, also decorated
with red, blue, and yellow cloth patterns on the instep. These bore a
very conspicuous position in the dance, as the ladies, contrary to the
principles of modern art, were continually regarding and showing forth
the aforesaid boots, as they glided about, and pattered the time to the
well-marked music. The dance was altogether much more pleasing than
the Indian nach, and the ladies, in spite of their savage jewellery,
and rude manner, were much more womanly and respectable than their
gauzy, be-ringed and bare-footed southern rivals.

After the dance was over, there was a general move to a large, open
space of ground, where the male part of the community were to show
off their prowess in the native games. To my astonishment, some fifty
or sixty Thibetians here assembled, each provided with a veritable
hockey stick, not on foot, however, but each man mounted on his own
little mountain pony, and prepared to play a downright game of hockey
on horseback. In the centre of the battle-field, between the two
"sides," the pipes and tabors forming THE BAND took their station,
and each time the wooden ball of contention was struck off, set up a
flourish to animate the players. The Thibetians, however, required no
such artificial excitement, but set to work with an energy and spirit,
quite refreshing to behold, and the scene soon became most animated and
amusing. The Thibetians, unlike Englishmen under similar circumstances,
appeared to think the more clothes they had on the better, and in
their long woollen coats and trowsers, and their huge sheepskin boots,
they quite overshadowed the wiry little horses they bestrode. Besides
having to carry all this weight, the ponies, most unfairly, came
in also for all the SHINNING; but in spite of these disadvantages,
they performed their parts to admiration, dashing about in the most
reckless manner, at the instigation of their riders, and jostling
and knocking against one another in a way that would have disgusted
any other pony in the world. Conspicuous among the crowd of riders,
was the thirty-rupee Prime Minister, who on a most diminutive little
animal, charged about in a way he never could have condescended to
do, had he had the misfortune to have still remained a Rajah. Each
time that the ball was sent into the goal, the striker, picking it
up dexterously, without dismounting, came again at full speed down
the course, the band struck up, and throwing the ball into the air,
he endeavoured to strike it as far as possible in the direction
of the adverse party. Behind him, at best pace, came his own side,
and a desperate collision appeared the inevitable result; however,
not a single man was unhorsed during the entire struggle, nor were
there any violent concussions, or accidents of any kind on either side.

The men rode very short, and their clumsy boots, stuck through the
heavy stirrup-irons, gave them a ludicrous appearance, which was
little indicative of the firm seat and active part they displayed
in the games. After seeing the last of the hockey we pitched our
camp under a grove of trees, and had an audience of the Kardar,
with a view to obtaining information as to our new line of march,
which here branches off from the old route. He, however, was unable to
afford us much intelligence, and we were glad to get rid of him again,
with a present of fifteen bullets, which were the objects he appeared,
at the time, to covet most in the world.

To-day a charge was brought against our immaculate bhistie, by the
Q.M.G., of secreting about half-a-pound of precious white sugar in
his sheepskin bag. On being confronted with the Bench he confessed
the crime, improving on it, like most natives, by declaring that it
was for medicine for his little boy at home, who had sore eyes! The
cook, being taken up with the festivities and the turquoises, gave
us our dinner at an unusually fashionable hour.

AUGUST 30. -- Started for a fresh line of exploration, not without
some difficulty and opposition, in consequence of a desire on the
part of the Sipahee and the servants to revisit Kurgil, with a view
to the tobacco supplies supposed to exist there.

The consequence was that they obtained all sorts of information for us
as to the badness of our proposed road, and the insuperable obstacles
to be overcome from unbridged rivers, snow, &c. Persevering in our
plans, however, we were rewarded by finding a great improvement in
the scenery, and, from the novelty of the day's work, a corresponding
benefit to the spirits of the entire expedition. Passing through
a little village called Menzies, we halted for breakfast within
view of the northern face of an entire new range of snow-capped
mountains. Everything gave promise of fine scenery in advance, and
about four P.M. we reached Thambis, a lovely piece of cultivation,
surrounded on all sides by monster rocks, and overlooked by a peak of
pure white virgin snow, and here we pitched our little camp. Entering
the village suddenly from the rocky mountain-pass, the little place
looked inexpressibly green and refreshing, and we were soon under the
shade of a row of pleasant pollards, which lined the bank of a stream
near which we halted. As at Pushkoom, the second crops were down,
and the people employed in thrashing and grinding their corn. The
new crop consisted principally of pulse of various kinds, radishes,
and a few fields of tobacco, and nestled in pleasant nooks and corners
there were occasional gardens of melons.

Here we got two fine sheep for one rupee ten annas, or 3S. 3D., and
one of them formed a sumptuous repast for the coolies and retainers,
who held a most convivial banquet round their camp-fires in the
evening. The primitive inhabitants seemed quite unaccustomed to the
sight of strangers, and we found on this account, better and more
plentiful supplies procurable, while the assembling of the entire
village to behold the wonderful arrival, formed a pleasant excitement
after the day's march.

To-day we had the choice of two roads, one on either side of the
torrent; that on the right bank was reported bad, and we accordingly
decided upon the other, but an unexpected obstacle then presented
itself in the shape of a bridge of rope of a very considerable length,
crossing the torrent. It was formed of the twigs of trees, and being
in an unpleasantly dilapidated condition, the passage was a matter
of some difficulty if not danger. To save the direct strain a number
of the villagers took up their position to distend the side ropes,
and having to get over the outstretched legs of these officious
aids, made the affair a very much more nervous proceeding than it
would otherwise have been. The lowness of the side-ropes, and the
oscillation of the ricketty structure rendered the feat altogether a
rather more amusing performance to the looker on than to the actual
performer, and I was not to reach the opposite shore. On the arrival
of the coolies, they all hung back, and regarded the machine with
utter astonishment, and when one of them did essay the passage,
his coat caught in one of the twigs, about half way across, and not
having the use of his hands, he was completely caught as in a trap,
and unable either to advance or retire. In endeavouring to turn,
his load nearly upset him, and there he remained until extricated
by one of the villagers. A few of the coolies afterwards got across,
and also the servants, with great trepidation, but the greater number,
with the main body of the baggage, including, alas! all the cooking
department, except one load, were afraid to essay the passage, and had
to take to the bad road in despair. The fraction of the commissariat
stores which did reach our side of the water turned out to be plates,
knives, forks, and kettles, so that we had before us no prospect of
breakfast until we arrived at a village some ten kos off, where a
more respectable bridge was to re-unite us with our goods and chattels.

As promised, the path on our side was pretty good, and led us
through several peaceful little villages, overhung by giant rocks,
and dotted with enormous blocks of stone, which had descended to
disturb the harmony of the scene during some convulsion or commotion
in the interior economy of the mountains. Some of these were taken
advantage of by the natives to serve as canvas for their designs,
and were carved with effigies of four-armed divinities, and other
SACRED subjects. With the exception of these, we saw few traces of
Buddhism about us here. Passing through one of the villages, I bought
a medicine-book, or charm, from one of the natives. It was in Arabic,
and was rolled and swathed like a mummy, and worn round his arm. He
told me that he had inherited it from his father, and appeared by no
means happy when it was gone.

Arriving at Sankoo, we found it a well-wooded thinly-inhabited
valley, about a kos and a half in length. Here we had a new specimen
of bridge architecture to pass. It was formed simply enough of
two crooked trunks of trees, and, considering the torrent below,
it required a considerable amount of confidence to enable one to
traverse it successfully. From the scarcity of the population, I had
great difficulty in finding anybody to procure me a drink of milk,
and when I at last discovered a woman and two children, she was so
thunderstruck that, catching up one of her offspring in her arms and
shrieking to another to follow her, like a hen and chickens swooped at
by a hawk, away they went as fast as their legs would carry them. As
this was no satisfaction to me, however productive it might be of
milk to the baby, I began to make signs of bringing down the family
mansion that short distance required to raze it to the ground, and
thus succeeded in calling forth from its interior a half-naked old
gentleman out of his study to my assistance.

He, however, in an abject way informed me that he had no milk himself,
but would introduce me to a friend who had. I accordingly followed
him, "at the point of the stick," until we reached another mud hovel,
where we found the lady of the house sitting in her porch working,
and a supercilious-looking gentleman reclining at her side.

Neither of them, however, seemed to pay the slightest attention to my
wants, and savage with thirst, I charged the whole trio, saluting the
gentleman at the same time with an application of my stick. Instead of
his jumping up, however, as I expected, I found that the unfortunate
man was kept in his recumbent position by rheumatism, or some such
ailment, and that, in my ignorance of Thibetian, and want of milk
and patience combined, I had committed an atrocious and unwarrantable
assault upon an invalid. Meantime, however, the lady was off like a
shot, and soon returned from the dairy bearing both milk and flour,
wherewith to appease the ferocity of her visitor. Having nearly
choked myself with the meal and brought myself round again with the
milk, I gave the invalid full compensation and satisfaction as far
as I was able, for my attack, and again took to the road in search
of the bridge which was to re-unite us with our baggage and our
breakfast. Before reaching it, however, I was the unfortunate cause
of the entire abandonment of some half-dozen houses, by merely halting
to sit down for a few minutes under a tree in their vicinity. Whether
the inhabitants -- who appeared to be all women -- thought that I
was going to open trenches and beleaguer them or not I don't know,
but, after a few minutes, I used to see one of them dart out from
behind a mud wall and scuttle away like a rabbit; then another
lady would steal out, carefully lock the door, and with a child
on her back and a couple of olive branches in rear, crawl over the
housetop and out at the back garden, there taking to her heels, and
vanishing with her convoy suddenly from sight. This operation being
repeated in other tenements, I found myself at last left in full and
uninterrupted possession of the entire settlement I happened to be
in the vicinity of, including the cocks, hens, firewood, dwelling,
places, and messuages, &c. thereunto appertaining and belonging. When
they re-occupied the evacuated premises I don't know, but Rajoo, I
ascertained, wished them all no future happiness when, on coming up
some time afterwards, he knocked at every door and looked down every
sky-light and chimney in the village without being able to procure
as much as a light to ignite the tobacco in his "hubble bubble." The
coolies having found the path on the right bank of the torrent quite as
bad as prognosticated, we got our breakfast shortly before sunset. From
the proximity of a high rocky mountain, towards the westward of our
camp, however, this was considerably earlier than might be imagined.

SEPTEMBER 1. -- Commenced our last month but one of leave, by a
fine march of some sixteen miles from Sankoo to Tesroo, or Sooroo,
at the foot of the grandest snowy range we had yet encountered. The
path led us over a gigantic fall of rocks, evidently the deposits
formed by successive and destructive avalanches.

In some parts the traces were quite fresh, the rocks being rent and
uptorn in a wonderful way; and, in one place, we passed the ground
where two villages had been entirely overwhelmed by an avalanche,
the entire population of twenty-five having been killed in the ruins.

After walking about five or six kos, in the finest and freshest of
morning air, we suddenly opened upon a noble mountain of pure unbroken
snow, rearing its head proudly into the blue sky among a train of
courtiers, not so noble, nor so purely, whitely, clad as itself,
but still arrayed in robes of glistening snow. Here the path emerged
from the side of the rugged mountain torrent, and brought us about
two kos over fine turfy grass to within some three miles of Sooroo;
and here we halted, under a grove of trees, for breakfast. After this,
we had another rope bridge to pass, which was so little to the taste
of the coolies, that they were glad to get the natives to carry over
their loads for them. On crossing we found the Thanadar, a fine old
black-muzzled Cashmeeree, with his Moonshee, and a train of eight
Sipahees waiting to receive us, and were conducted in due form to
our camping ground. Here the breeze, as it whistled over our tent,
savoured strongly of the snow, and reminded us of the vicinity of
the chilly mountain Grandees we had seen on our road, and which still
presided over us.

The natives even appeared to feel the cold, though in the winter months
they are entirely snowed up, and ought to be pretty well inured to
it by this time.

The entire valley is, in winter, totally submerged in snow,
and a stranger might then pass over it without knowing there were
villages beneath his feet. The bridges are annually swept away, and
so suddenly does the hard weather make its appearance, that even now
the inhabitants were in fear and trembling lest the snows should come
down on them before their crops of wheat and barley were carried for
the winter's use.

Numbers of fields of corn are still within a week or so of ripening,
and, should they be lost, the chance of winter's subsistence would
be small indeed.

The appearance of a Thibetian settlement here, as one looks down upon
it from a height, is very much that of an ant-hill. The huts are built
on the top of each other, and generally on mounds, and the people,
like ants, are busily and laboriously employed in laying up their
winter store, not only of grain, but also of firewood, and anything
capable of serving in its place, to enable them to struggle through
their dreary mouths of captivity.

Huge loads of corn and stacks are to be seen moving about, apparently
spontaneously, disappearing through queer holes and corners of the
earth, and again appearing on the housetops, where they are stacked
and stored. The bundles of fire-wood being placed with the branches
outside, and neatly ranged, they give the peaceful settlement quite
a bristling and warlike appearance, as if defended by CHEVAUX DE
FRISE. The Zemindars here pay but two rupees a year to the Maharajah,
but it seems a hard case that such hardly-subsisting people should
have to pay anything whatever in such a sterile dreary territory as
they possess.

To-day we came across one solitary mound of the inscribed stones,
probably the last, as we now cross the mountains into Cashmerian
territory again.

To the south of our camp, the road from Ladak through Zanskar joins
the valley, and we half regretted not having risked the chances of
that road; however, it was uncertain whether it was passable, and,
as time was valuable, we had but little option in the matter.

SEPTEMBER 2. -- Being Sunday, we had a regular rest, explored the
country, and made the acquaintance of the few Thibetians who inhabited
the villages.

Everywhere there were signs of the invasion of Gulab Singh, some
twenty years ago. Houses in ruins, and forts reduced to dust and
rubbish. To replace these latter, a new fort had been constructed by
Rumbeer Singh, in what appears about the worst possible position in
the entire valley to render it of any use whatever.

The people were busily employed in their fields, pulling and carrying
corn, and treading it out with oxen. A team of six I saw, most
uncomfortably performing this work. They were tied together by the
noses, and so small a piece of ground had they to revolve upon, that
the innermost animal had to go backward continually, while the centre
ones were regularly jammed together by the outsiders. Two deformed
natives were employed in driving this unhappy thrashing machine.

In the evening, the Thanadar's Moonshee came to beg a "razee nama,"
or "letter of satisfaction," which we gave him, together with a
"bukshish," with which he seemed well pleased.

SEPTEMBER 3. -- Got up this morning with a peculiarly cold feel, and
started with a fine piercing breeze in our teeth, blowing directly
off the snows.

Our force was augmented to-day by three goats, as portable dairy, and a
party of natives, with three days' supplies, also a guide, for our path
lay over ground neither much frequented nor well known. To-day's has
been the grandest scene of the panorama yet unfolded to us. From the
last halt, no inconsiderable height in itself, we mounted continually
towards the huge white masses of snow, which so lately towered above
us in the distance. Passing the remains of mighty avalanches firmly
fixed across the foaming torrent, we ascended the snow valley by the
side of a perfect mountain of ice and snow, the accumulations of,
possibly, as many years as the world has existed, which had formed
itself immoveably between the mighty mountain's sides. The terrific
force, with which the masses of snow had come down each season, to
repair the ravages in the frozen monster's constitution caused by the
melting away of his lower extremities, could be seen by the enormous
blocks of stone which rested on its surface in all directions. In
some places fantastic arches of snow were thus formed, with blocks of
rock resting on their summits, and such a distance were these central
accumulations of rocks, and snow, and ice, from the cradles in which
they were reared, that it was impossible to conceive, without the
occurrence of an earthquake, how they could ever have reached their
present positions.

One begins now faintly to understand how it is that the enormous number
of torrents dashing about are kept supplied with icy life. The vast
quantities of snow wedged into solid masses, which must have existed
since all time among these mighty mountains, would serve to feed rivers
innumerable, and the supply, as long as rivers and mountains exist,
would appear to be inexhaustible.

Our path, if path it could be called, was very bad in parts, and
so difficult for the coolies that we were fortunate in getting our
breakfast at two P.M., and, when we did get it, a snowstorm which
came down upon us rather hurried our procedings in discussing it.

The entire afternoon it continued snowing, and the mountain-tops
soon hid themselves and sulked away among the leaden mists. Our tent
was pitched among a low sort of scrub, the only apology for fire-wood
procurable, and here we soon had a fine carpet of fresh snow, which put
the unfortunate coolies, and the servants, and the three goats and the
four ducks, and, in fact, everybody but F. and myself, who now begin to
feel thoroughly AT HOME, to considerable discomfort and inconvenience.

About a hundred yards from us rises the central mountain of
consolidated old snow; while the monarchs of the place, whose
hospitality we have been enjoying, overtopped our diminutive little
worn canvas dwelling with proud and gloomy magnificence, or hid
themselves from us in their ermine mantles, with aristocratic
frigidity.[30] Before us, the path continues towards the clouds,
hemmed in, to all appearance, by a mighty glacier, which it would
seem impossible to avoid in our tomorrow's route. To-day we again
find the society of the little shrieking marmots, who seemed more than
over astonished at what could bring so strange and motley a group of
creatures to disturb the universal quiet of their solitude. Of all
our party the cook, perhaps, here fares the worst. The only things
growing about us are a few plants of rhubarb and the miserable scrub,
which he is obliged to use with all faith as firewood! this being
thoroughly wet requires much coaxing to ignite, and what with the
difficulties of his profession, the cold, the falling snow, and the
increased appetites of the SAHIBS, the unfortunate head of the cooking
department becomes for the time the most intensely miserable being,
black or white, upon the whole face of the globe.

SEPTEMBER 4. -- Awoke this morning to find the encampment, and its
vicinity, covered with snow, and every prospect of a snow-stormy march
before us. The coolies and servants were in a deplorable state of
frozen discomfort, but all kept up their spirits by laughing at each
other's woes. Just as the sun appeared above the mountains for a few
minutes only, we got under weigh; the tent, however, took some time
to disencumber of its load of frozen snow, and to pack, and all the
baggage required excavating previous to becoming capable of removal.

The path up to the great glacier above us was wild and barren, it
lay over a little plain watered by branching streams, and covered
over with ice and newly fallen snow. Crossing one of these streams,
I flushed a solitary woodcock, the only inhabitant of the wild,
and shortly afterwards, our guide, an uncouth bundle of sheep-skins,
slipped over a frozen stone, and came down in the freezing water with
a splash, which, at that hour of the morning, made one shudder all
over involuntarily. The snow-shoes which F. and myself had donned,
alone saved us several times from a similar, uncomfortable fate. Our
path, properly speaking, should have led over the very centre of the
glacier; but, in consequence of the numerous crevasses and the early
appearance of the new snow, our guide steadily refused to take us
over the pass by that route. To have taken it without a guide would
have been simply impossible; so we diverged to one side, and, after a
sharp ascent of two hours over the snow, reached a sort of upper basin
among the very mountain-tops. Here the scene which opened on us was
wild beyond description. We were now about 18,000 feet above the sea,
and in every direction around us snow hemmed in our view. Under our
feet was a plain of pure white snow; the mountain-tops were snowy
HILLOCKS, standing white against the leaden sky; and from above the
fleecy snow-flakes fell around us thickly as we trudged along. The
ground was most treacherous, and required great care m traversing, and
in one place, being ahead of the guide, the snow and ice suddenly gave
way beneath me, and with a most unpleasant sensation of uncertainty
as to where I might be going, I found myself standing up to my waist
in snow and to my knees in freezing water.

The guide, almost at the same moment, came to the same end, and it was
not without much floundering and blundering that we both extricated
ourselves from our difficulties. Shortly after this we crossed the
highest point of the pass, and here the guide said his prayers to the
presiding "peer," or divinity of the place, previous to asking for
bukshish; after which he and the sepoy proceeded to smoke a pipe of
peace and tranquillity together. The most trying part of our day's work
we found to be waiting for breakfast, the coolies being much retarded
both by the road and the state of the weather. We stopped at a sort
of temporary abode, where some slight protection from rain and snow
was obtained by the piling up of stones against an eligible rock,
and here, after a long and dreary wait, we breakfasted in a little
smoke-dried, draught-inviting den, the snow all the time coming down
in a way not altogether adapted for the enjoyment of such AL FRESCO
entertainments. Descending from this, we came to a grassy slope at
last, and so by a most precipitous path to the valley on the southern
side of the mountains, down which a formidable torrent rolled along,
dividing itself into a number of channels not very promising as to our
prospects of reaching the opposite side. Here we saw an enormous flock
of sheep grazing on the mountain-side, seeming, as they moved to and
fro in search of pasture, like a floating cloud against the hill. There
must have been several thousands, though accurate computation was out
of the question. They made, however, all the other mountain-flocks
we had met, appear as nothing in point of numbers.

Arriving at the many-branching river, I was for some time quite at a
loss for a ford, until a native, seeing the dilemma I was in, crossed
to my assistance. Finding me stripping to the work, he insisted on
my mounting upon his back, and in an evil moment I consented. The
consequence was that, after passing safely a couple of the streams,
in the deepest spot of the whole torrent, he tottered and fell,
and down we both came, he in the most ungraceful position in which
man can fall, and I, luckily, upon my feet. The sensation, however,
on suddenly finding the water rushing past, and one's feet slipping
about among the clinking stones, was anything but pleasant, and it
was with difficulty that I collected myself together and completed
the uncomfortable passage. The tent being luckily pitched about a mile
farther on, the loss of dignity in the eyes of the bystanders was the
only evil result of the misfortune. Towards night it came on again to
snow, and the coolies and retainers had another hard bivouac of it,
while F. and I were obliged to keep all hands at the pumps, or, in
other words, to fasten all available rags and wraps under our canvas,
to keep out the soaking wet.

The cold was very great, and everything gave token of coming winter,
and testified to what the Himalayas can do in the snow and ice line
of business when their full time shall arrive.

SEPTEMBER 5. -- After a damp night's bivouac, we awoke to find "A
MIXTURE AS BEFORE" falling -- a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow --
anything but promising for the comfort of our day's march. To avoid
having to wait in the wet for breakfast, we sent on the kitchen and
the cook, and, after some time, followed leisurely ourselves.

An overhanging ledge of rock afforded us some shelter for our meal,
and, after warming and drying ourselves to some extent in this
smoke-blackened and not very commodious little Himalayan hotel, we
again pressed on. This was our third day away from either villages or
regular shelter of any sort, and the retainers were naturally anxious
to reach some settlement where they could, for a time at least,
protect themselves from the rain and snow which still continued to
fall. The consequence was, they pressed on some sixteen miles farther
at a good pace, to reach a little wooden village at the head of the
Wurdwan valley, and we saw nothing of them on the road. On reaching
our halting-place, however, lo and behold, our unfortunate cook was
absent, and nobody seemed to know anything whatever about him! The
cooking things and the larder were all present, and dinner-hour was
at hand; but, alas! the pots and kettles were without a lord, and the
question of where was our dinner began to give way in point of interest
to where was our cook. At the time F. and I left the "cave-hotel,"
the whole of the coolies, Rajoo, the three goats, and the two sheep,
had all gone on ahead, as also the "Invincible One," the sepoy.

The bhistie and the missing cook had therefore only remained
behind. The road, soon after leaving, entered a wooded gorge, and,
as the valley narrowed, the torrent began to get considerably more
rapid and boisterous, as it took to leaping down the giant rocks,
which bound it in between their iron grasp and formed its only bed.

The path was wet and sloppy, and led in parts along the tops of rather
dangerous precipices. Passing cautiously over these, and through
wooded paths lined with mosses and wild flowers, whose perfume scented
the entire air, we came upon a curious bridge of well-packed snow,
which spanned the torrent. A treacherous-looking specimen it was,
and after taking its likeness in my pocket-book, I was passing it as a
matter of course, when I suddenly heard a shout, and perceived F. and
the mate at the other side of the torrent beckoning me to cross the
snow. I accordingly, with no very good grace and some astonishment,
essayed the passage. The snow I found hard as ice, and not liking the
look of its treacherous convex sides, I held my course straight up the
centre, and then descended with great care and deliberation along the
junction of the snow and the mountain. So slippery was the passage,
that without grass shoes I should have been sorry to have attempted
it, and, as I halted to regard the curious structure from a distance,
I could not help thinking what a likely spot it was for a traveller to
lose his life without anybody being the wiser, and what a small chance
he would have in the deep and rapid torrent below if he should happen
to slip into its remorseless clutches. The path from this continued
its perilous character, in one place traversing a precipitous face
of rock only passable on all fours, beneath which a thick cover of
long grass and weeds hung over the deep, treacherous-looking pools of
the torrent. Having on a pair of grass shoes which had already done
one day's work, I had broken down about half way, and was now nearly
bare-footed. I consequently did not arrive till nearly the last of
the party, and found the tent pitched and fires lit under a group of
large trees, in the wooden village of about a dozen houses, called
Sucknez. It was then getting dusk, and after waiting a reasonable
time, we sent out a party from the village to make search for our
missing man, while F. and I, lighting a fire almost in the tent door,
proceeded to cook our own dinner.

The materials consisted of an unlimited supply of eggs and a box
of sardines, hitherto neglected, and despised among the artistic
productions of our lost professor. F. superintended the frying
of the eggs, and produced a conglomeration of some eight of them,
which we pronounced unusually delicious, while I laid the table and
looked after the kettle, for we thought it better, under our bereaved
circumstances, to knock tea and dinner into one meal. Although we had
made a longish march, we managed, with the aid of the kettle and the
brandy, to sit up by the light of a roaring pine fire until late, in
the hopes of some news arriving of our searching party. None however
came, and we went to bed HOPING that the man had lost his way, and
FEARING that he had fallen either over the slippery snow-bridge or
down one of the many precipices into the torrent.

SEPTEMBER 6. -- Morning came, but neither news of our cook nor of
the party who went out in his search, and, after breakfast, donning
a pair of grass shoes, and provided with some matches and a small
bottle of cherry-brandy, I sallied out with the mate on a voyage of
discovery. Outside the village I met the searching party, who had
been out all through the bitter night, but had found no traces of
the object of their search.

Sending a note to F. to dispatch all the coolies to search, I pressed
on to the most dangerous precipice of our yesterday's route, and,
descending to the torrent, searched about the grass and weeds at the
bottom, but without finding any traces. About this place I met three
lonely travellers, laden with meal, who had come along the entire
path, but had seen no sign of a human creature anywhere. I now gave
up our man as lost, but still held on, in a pouring mixture of sleet
and snow, which added considerably to the gloom of the scene. Every
now and then the old mate, who was in very low spirits, would raise
a lugubrious wail at the top of his voice of "Ai Khansaman Jee! Ai
Khansaman Jee?" "Oh, cook of my soul! oh, cook of my soul, where
art thou?" at the same time apparently apostrophizing the deepest
whirlpools of the torrent, while the roar of the waters effectually
prevented his magnificent voice from reaching more than a dozen
yards from the spot where he stood. Arriving at the snow-bridge,
we examined it closely for signs of footmarks; it was, however,
so hard that it baffled all our efforts.

At the other side I explored the path which I myself had followed
in the first instance. It, however, only led to a small shelter
among the rocks and trees, where the natives had evidently been in
the habit of lighting their fires and halting for the night. After
continuing the search to another snow-bridge above, we returned
to our camp, and made the sepoy issue a notice that twenty rupees
reward would be given for the recovery of our cook, dead or alive,
and also that a reward would be given to any person who should bring
us any reliable information about him. At the same time we sent the
notice to the villages below, and spread it as much as possible; but
though twenty rupees would be a small fortune to one of these people,
they took but little interest in the matter, and looked upon the whole
thing as "Kismut," or destiny. "If it was the will of God that the
body should be found, it would be found, if not, where was the use
of looking for it;" and so they took no steps whatever in the matter.

To add to the probabilities of the snow-bridge having been the
cause of our loss, it appeared that a short time before, a coolie
carrying Pushmeena &c. had fallen there, and had never since been
heard of; while another, who had also fallen into the torrent, was
only discovered six days afterwards miles and miles below.

Having now despatched several searching parties, and received no
tidings, we decided upon retreating to the next village down the
valley, and halting there for a few days, in order to do all we could
for our unfortunate man.

SEPTEMBER 7. -- Started on our march again in heavy sleet and rain,
which, higher up the mountains, took the form of downright snow. The
valley descended by a slight incline, through fir and other forest
trees, and about four kos down, we reached another little wooden
city, where, being wet through and through, we were glad to halt,
and getting a good fire lit in one of the log-houses, we set to work
to dry our clothes. The house was reached by a most primitive ladder,
made of half the trunk of a tree, hollowed out into holes for the
feet; and, as for the shelter afforded by the tenement, it certainly
kept off the rain, but was not intended to keep out the wind, for the
trees which composed the walls were so far apart, that we could see
the face of nature between them, and, in spite of the open windows,
which the architect had thought necessary to provide the building with,
the breeze whistled through the chinks in a way that might be very
pleasant in hot weather, but was not so cheery when snow and rain was
the order of the day. The roofs were the most novel structures I had
ever seen. They consisted merely of rudely split blocks of wood, some
five or six feet long, through the upper ends of which stout pegs had
been driven, and, thus suspended, these weighty wooden tiles overlapped
each other, and formed a rude covering, which, unpromising as it was to
outward appearance, answered its purpose sufficiently well, and was at
least quite in keeping with the remainder of the wooden mansion. The
people here were something like the Cashmeerees in appearance, and
as we descend into civilization, fowls, and other hitherto foreign
animals begin to show themselves once more. The entire substitution
of wood for mud and stones effectually marks the difference between
the Cashmerian and Thibetian sides of the snowy range we had just
crossed. About eight kos from Sucknez we reached Bragnion, where we
found the camp pitched in a most promising position, having a fine
view of the valley below, and the distant ranges of mountains. The
torrent here spread itself into several channels, and the valley,
widening to allow it fuller liberty to pursue its joyful existence,
descended in a succession of wooded slopes, one beyond the other,
while the eternal snows again bounded the view in the distance.

The small portions of comparatively level ground in sight were
covered with crops of the richest colours. One in particular, which
the people called "gunhar," was of the hue of beetroot, and grew upon
its stalk in heavy, gorgeous masses, which added considerably to the
richness of the landscape. The seed of this consists of myriads of
little semi-transparent white grains, very like ant's eggs, and the
taste is something similar to that of wheat. Above our camp, in a
ravine of the hills, is the place where an officer had been killed
by the fall of an avalanche, while out on a shooting expedition. His
companion, a noted sportsman, was saved, by making a tremendous jump;
but he himself, and three shikarees, were swept away, their bodies
not being recovered for two months afterwards.

SEPTEMBER 8. -- After a cold night, during which I dreamt of our lost
cook, we were awoke by a shout of "Jeeta hy!" -- "He is living!" then,
"Rusta bhool gya!" -- "He lost his way!" and gradually it dawned upon
us that the man we had fancied floating down the torrent a mangled
corpse was still actually in the land of the living.

It appeared that he had been discovered, sitting helplessly upon the
mountain side, by a chance and solitary traveller from Thibet. He had
lost his way at the snow-bridge, and, in trying to retrace his steps,
completely got off the only track existing, and had consequently
wandered about among the wood and cover as long as his strength
enabled him.

The accounts of his movements amid the general excitement were rather
conflicting, but this being the fourth day since his disappearance,
and the weather having been very bad all that time, he must have
had a very narrow escape of his life, from the combined effects of
cold and hunger. By the man's account who found him, he was so weak,
that he was unable to eat the chupatties thrown across to him; and,
his rescuer accordingly leaving with him some meal, and means to make a
fire, came on to Sucknez, and from thence sent out a party to carry him
in. Sending a horse and some supplies for him, we looked forward with
some interest to his own account of his most unsought-for adventures.

The villagers here, we found, were in the habit of making regular
expeditions among their crops at night, to keep off the bears who
prowl about in search of food. Armed with torches, they keep up
a tremendous shouting all through the dark hours, during the time
their grain is ripening; and thinking to get a daylight view of the
robbers, I started up the mountain with a native guide and a rifle. My
"sportsman," however, in spite of many promises, failed in showing
me anything more savage than a preserve of wild raspberry-trees,
on which I regaled with much satisfaction.

A curious custom in the valley is that of hanging quantities of hay
up among the branches of trees, and its object puzzled me immensely,
till my guide informed me that in the winter the snow lies five and six
yards in depth, and that the supplies of hay, which now look only meant
for camel-leopards, are then easily reached by the flocks of sheep
which abound in the valley. At present these were all collected among
the mountains, to be out of the way of the harvest, and this accounts
for the enormous herd we had seen while descending from the pass.

SEPTEMBER 9. -- Found the sun brightly shining again this morning,
and everything looking fresh and beautiful after the rain. The man
who had gone with supplies to the cook returned with news that he was
ill from the effects of cold and fasting, and not able to come on to
us. While at breakfast, my yesterday's guide brought us in a bowl of
raspberries, which gave pleasant token of the change from the desolate
country we had recently passed through, to the land of plenty we had
reached. We also got about eleven seers (22 lbs.) of virgin honey,
for which we paid three rupees. While trying it for breakfast,
a dense swarm of the original proprietors came looking for their
stores, and the noise they made buzzing about, made one fancy they
contemplated walking off bodily with the jars. In the evening our
long-lost cook again returned to the bosom of his family. The poor
creature looked regularly worn out. From the combined effects of snow
and fire he was quite lame; his turban, most of his clothes, and all
his small possessions, had vanished while struggling through the thick
cover, and he himself had subsisted for two nights and three days,
unsheltered and alone, upon nothing but tobacco and snow! On losing
his way, not thinking of crossing the snow-bridge, he struck right
up the mountain side, in search, first of the path, and afterwards
of some hut or shelter. He then gradually got into thick and almost
impervious cover; not a habitation of any sort was within miles of him,
and thus he wandered about for two days and nights. On the third day
he descended again towards the torrent, and, falling and stumbling,
reached a rock on its bank, and there seating himself, was, by the
merest chance, seen by the passing traveller from the other side
of the torrent. Making signs that he was starving, this man threw
him some chupatties, and these, wonderful to relate, the cook put
in his pocket without touching. Supposing him to be either too weak,
or else, even while starving, too strict a Hindoo to eat cooked food,
his rescuer then threw him across some meal in his turban, and went
off for assistance. The poor creature was rather proud, I think, to
find himself the centre of attraction, as well as of being valued at
twenty rupees; and, as he falteringly related his sorrows and escape
from death, the coolies and the rest of the forces gathered round
him, listening with wide open mouths to the wonderful narrative of
his adventures.

SEPTEMBER 10. -- Took another day's rest to give our unfortunate cook
a little time to recover his energies. In the evening, the villagers
produced us a couple of hives of honey, which we packed away in
earthen jars for transport to the plains. The amount was 391/2 seers,
or 79 lbs. for which we paid ten rupees.

The unwillingness of the people to produce their honey the "Invincible
One" accounted for by saying that they were afraid of OUR not paying
them. On inquiry, however, the real cause turned out to be, that the
Sepoy himself was in the habit of exacting a heavy tax on all purchases
on our part, and fear of him, not us, was the true difficulty.

In the evening, we took a tour through the village, and DISCOURSED,
as well as we could, a native Zemindar, whom we found with his
household around him, gathering in his crop of grain, which had been
partially destroyed by the early snow. His land appeared to be about
four acres in extent, and for this, he told us, he paid twelve rupees
per annum to the Maharajah of Cashmere. He failed signally, however,
in explaining how he produced that amount by his little farm. The
produce of his land sufficed only to feed himself and his family,
and the proceeds of the sale of wool, belonging to his twelve sheep,
he estimated at only two rupees. Besides these, he possessed a few
cows, and appeared as cheery and contented a landholder as I ever met,
in spite of his losses by the snows, and his inability to make out,
even by description, his ten rupees of ground-rent to the Maharajah.

The crops around consisted chiefly of bearded wheat (kanuk), barley
(jow), anik, tronba, and gunhar, all otherwise nameless; and also a
small quantity of tobacco, turnips, and radishes.

SEPTEMBER 11. -- Having with some difficulty procured a pony for the
cook, we started again for Cashmere, and, after a very steep ascent,
through woods of magnificent pine-trees, with every now-and-then a
glorious peep of distant snow-peaks towering in the skies, we reached
the summit of the peer, which separates the territory called Kushtwar
from that of Cashmere. According to the "Invincible" authority, this
territory belonged, some sixty years ago, to an independent Rajah,
and, on his death without heirs or successors, it fell into the
clutches of Gulab Singh.[31]

The entire revenue, he stated, was 3,000 rupees. From the heights
along our path, we could see the great glaciers of Dutchen, with its
mountain peak of 25,000 feet, which we had been bound for when the
misadventure of our cook interfered with our plans, and left us not
sufficient time to carry out our explorations.

The summit of the pass we found evidently not long freed from the old
snow, while the new supply lay about in masses all over the mountain.

Passing over a wild and marshy plain at the summit, we began to
descend a lovely pine-clad valley once more into veritable Cashmere,
and, about four P.M. encamped in a forest-clearing, which, in a very
short space of time, was illuminated by no less than seven roaring
campfires. Our own formed the centre, and was formed of a couple of
entire pine-trunks, while the others were ranged about wherever a dry
and prostrate tree presented a favourable basis for a conflagration. In
the evening we enjoyed the warmth of our fires considerably, and
discussed hot brandy and water seated on the very trees which formed
our fuel. We were all the more inclined to appreciate our position,
as we felt that we were nearly out of our cold latitudes, and rapidly
descending to the land of dog days once again.

SEPTEMBER 12. -- Continued our march down the valley, through continued
wooded grassy scenes, and attended by a not too noisy torrent. About a
kos from our halting place, we began again to see the wooden houses,
and came to a halt at the picturesque little village of Nowbogh,
where there were two roads branching off to Islamabad.

Here we had a long wait for breakfast, the servants being overcome by
the unaccustomed civilization and tobacco they met on the road. We
accordingly set to work at our own kitchen fire, and breakfasted
without further assistance off fried eggs, rice, and honey.

In the evening we found alas! that a fire at our tent door, as we had
had hitherto, was rather too hot to be pleasant. We were here visited
by the local prodigy, a rustic carpenter, who insisted upon making
something for us with his rather primitive-looking turning lathe. His
shop I found completely AL FRESCO, between a couple of cows in the
centre of a farm-yard, and here he set to work at a walnut cup, which
he turned out creditably enough. The only thing against it was, that
his lathe bored a hole right through the bottom of it, which spoiled
the utensil a good deal for drinking out of. However, not at all taken
aback, he plugged it up with a piece of stick, and at once requested
the bukshish, which was the chief part of the performance. Like most
of the Cashmeeries, he complained bitterly of the exactions of the
Maharajah's government, and stated his own rent to amount to sixteen
Huree Singh's rupees ([pound sterling]l) per annum. Not seeing how he
could accumulate that sum, by even an entire year of work such as his,
I took the liberty of disbelieving his assertion.

SEPTEMBER 13. -- Started for Kukunath. Our path lay over a
finely-wooded hill, from which we had a full view of the Peer Punjal
range, now divested considerably of the snows which lay upon it at
the time we started for Thibet.

Gradually descending into the valley proper, we soon found ourselves
once more among the waving rice-fields and apple-orchards, while
the wooden tenements again gave way to mud and stone, and thatched
erections. At a village called Sopru, we found some iron mines in
working order, and passing Kundunath, a pretty little spot adorned
with gardens of melons, pumpkins, sunflowers, &c., we shortly
after reached Kukunath. Here we encamped close to a collection of
bubbling crystal springs, which, bursting out of the hill side, and
spreading into a dozen separate streams, took their course down to
the innumerable fields of rice which they watered in their passage
through the valley. To-day our little camp assumes quite a lively
appearance again, three sheep and several fowls having been added
to the farm-yard; these, together with three surviving ducks of the
real original stock, and a wonderful white Thibetian cock, who owes
his life entirely to his highly-cultivated vocal powers, strut about
in front of the tent, and give an air of unwonted respectability
to the scene. Two marches more take us to Islamabad, and it seems
altogether about time that the present expedition should draw to a
close. Supplies appear alarmingly low. Sugar out some days, brandy
ditto, European boots worn out long ago, and both F. and myself living
in grass shoes; clothes generally dilapidated, and decidedly dirty;
servants very anxious for more tobacco and society, and everything, in
fact, requiring rest and renovation after our seven weeks' wanderings.

SEPTEMBER 14. -- Reached the picturesque little baraduree of
Atchabull once more, after a pleasant march from Kukunath. Shortly
after taking possession, a fresh arrival of Sahib's possessions and
servants came in, the latter rather astonished to find the house
occupied by such early birds. The owners turned out to be a colonel
of the Bengal Artillery and a brother officer. These were almost our
first acquaintances since starting, so that we were glad enough to
fraternize and hear what was going on in the world. Two of our former
boat's crew here also appeared, and gave us tidings of our rearguard
and baggage. The latter had been ejected from its lodgings, and taken
out for an airing on the river, having been visited by a flood caused
by the melting of the snows shortly after our departure. The weather
here began to be unpleasantly hot again; the disappearance of the
snow from the mountains having removed the principal cause of the
usual coolness in the valley.

Dined with the white men under the spreading sycamores, and enjoyed
the luxuries of bread, beer, and sugar in our tea, to all of which
we had now been long unaccustomed.

SEPTEMBER 15. -- A short march brought us to Islamabad, which we found
unusually lively from the assembling of a host of pilgrims, who had
come from far and wide for a religious fair at Mutton. The groups of
different nations, and their manners and customs while bivouacking,
were most picturesque, and served to amuse and interest us for the
entire day.

SEPTEMBER 16. -- Started early by boat, in the fond expectation
of reaching Sirinugger in the evening. Dusk, however, found us no
farther than the ruins of Wentipore, and we only reached the capital
at daylight in the morning. Finding our old quarters vacant, we were
soon located once more under a roof; and, fifty days having elapsed
since we had seen either letter or paper, we lost no time in applying
to the postal authorities for our expected accumulations and arrears
of correspondence. This resulted in the production of twenty-seven
epistles and eleven papers, which we carried home triumphantly in
our boat, and proceeded forthwith to devour in that ravenous fashion
only known and appreciated by such as have ever undergone a similar
literary fast.

Last Days of Travel.

SEPTEMBER 30. -- For the last fifteen days we have been living
once more the life of OTIUM CUM DIGNITATE common to the travelling
Englishman in Cashmere. Basking in the sun, taking the daily row upon
the river, eating fruit, and buying trash in the city, have been our
principal occupations and amusements.

About the 20th of the month an English general officer arrived, and was
received with all honours, including a salute of heavy ordnance, which
was happily unattended with loss of life or limb. A dance and grand
review were also given in his honour; so that the arrival made quite
a stir, and came fairly under the head of AN EVENT in the valley. At
the review the Maharajah was decorated with unusual grandeur, and as he
and his guest rode down the line together -- the latter in a plain blue
frock, and the other in all his cloth of gold and jewelled splendour --
never were simplicity and display more strikingly placed in contrast.

The general's medals and crosses, however, appeared to have a greater
interest and importance in the Maharajah's eyes than their intrinsic
value could have commanded for them, and, during the marching
past of "The Army," he kept continually poking his finger at them,
and pointing them out to the courtiers who were gathered about his
chair. The general, at the same time, was employed in explaining
how many thousands the British Army consisted of, and how vastly
superior it was to all other armies whatever, not even making an
exception (as I thought he might fairly have done) in favour of the
"Invincible Forces," then and there manfully throwing out their feet
before him to the martial strains of "Home, sweet Home!" After the
last of the army had marched past, the general, with an energy little
appreciated by his friends in cloth of gold, jumped up, and, begging
permission to manoeuvre the troops himself, went off to throw the
unfortunate colonel commanding into a state of extreme consternation,
and to frighten the few English words of command he was possessed of,
fairly out of his head.

In the early mornings my chief amusement had been to watch the colonel
in question preparing both himself and his troops for the approaching
spectacle, and very sensibly he went through the performance. He
was arrayed on these occasions in the full dress of a green velvet
dressing-gown, worn in the style affected by the FEROCIOUS RUFFIAN
in small theatres, and, in place of a bugler, was accompanied by a
pipe-bearer. This aide followed him over the battle-field, wherever
the exigencies of the service required, and supplied him with whiffs
of the fragrant weed to compose his nerves at intervals during the
action. Their united efforts, however, although slightly irregular
in appearance, were attended with full success, for, with the help
of ten rounds of ammunition, the troops, even when handed over to the
tender mercies of the "Foreign General" got through their ordeal very
creditably; and, as they shot nobody, and did nothing more irregular
than losing their shoes upon the field, the event passed off smoothly
and pleasantly, and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Here we met an old Sikh acquaintance of the road, who informed me
that he had taken service under the Maharajah. Next day he paid us
a visit, by appointment, and expressed himself highly delighted with
his entertainment; smoking and drinking, however, not being lawful in
society to the Sikhs, we could do but little in the character of hosts,
beyond letting him talk away to his heart's content, and with as little
interruption as possible. He told us his entire life and history,
in the worst of English, and we affected to understand the whole of
the narration, which, perhaps, was as much as any host could have
been called upon to do under the circumstances. The old gentleman's
dress was extremely gorgeous, and contrasted rather strongly with
our own woollen shooting-jackets and general exterior. He wore
a turban of purest white, entwined in endless folds round a light
green skull-cap; his waistcoat was of green velvet, embroidered,
and richly bordered with gold. His pyjamas -- striped silk of the
brightest hue -- fitted his little legs as tightly as needle and
thread could make them, and his lady-like feet were encased in cotton
socks and gold embroidered slippers. Over all this he wore a green and
gold silk scarf of voluminous proportions, and of that comprehensive
character which an Eastern scarf, and in Eastern hands, alone is
capable of assuming. Round his wrists were massive gold bracelets,
but of other trinkets he had few; and the enormous ear-rings, so
usually worn by his race, were not among them. His long grey beard
and almost white moustache were, perhaps, the only ornaments his
fine old head required. The last time I had seen him, he was arrayed
entirely in scarlet and gold, and he had, no doubt, a large reserve
of dresses and jewellery; but, in spite of his tinsel and gilding,
he appeared a perfect little Eastern gentleman, and the only one I
had met as yet in our travels. After expressing a great desire to
open a correspondence with us, which, considering the small number
of topics we possessed in common, was rather a strange wish, the old
gentleman and his retinue took their leave, and we had seen the last
of Beer Singh Bahadur and his glorious apparel.

OCTOBER 1. -- Busily employed to-day in packing away our possessions,
and making final arrangements for again taking the road.

Paid a visit to Saifula Baba, the shawl merchant, whose dignity was
considerably upset by a cold in his head, and bought a few specimens
of his trade, though not sufficient to raise his spirits entirely
above the influenza. The approaching winter, and the evacuation of
the territory by the principal rupee-spending community, seemed a
source of great unhappiness to the sun and silver-loving natives.

Their houses seem but badly adapted to keep out cold, and their
efforts at heating them are frequently attended by the burning down
of a whole nest of their wooden habitations.

Their chief means of artificial warmth seems to be an earthenware
jar covered with basket-work, which each native possesses and carries
about with him wherever he goes.

This, which is called a Kangree, is filled with charcoal, and,
as the Cashmeerians squat down upon the ground, they tuck it under
their long clothes, where, until they again rise, it remains hidden
from sight, and forms a hot-air chamber under their garments.[32]
Among other artists I discovered a native painter, rather an uncommon
trade in these parts, from whom I obtained some original designs,
illustrating, with uncommon brilliancy, the very common ceremonies
of Hindoo and Mahomedan Shadees, or marriage processions, and other
manners and customs of native life.

After getting together everything we required for the road, and
clearing out the whole of our possessions, much to the inconvenience of
several large standing armies of fleas, we finally took our departure
in two boats, manned by twelve boatmen, and started for Baramoula,
on the road to Muree and the plains.

OCTOBER 2. -- After making but little progress during the night, we
discovered in the morning that our boats were rather too large for
the river, in its present weakly and reduced state. Every ten minutes
we found ourselves aground upon the sand and mud, and the cooking
boat behind us followed our example, while the river ahead showed no
prospect whatever of deepening. The Manjees, under the circumstances
performed wonders in the nautical manoeuvring line. Jumping overboard
incessantly, they called upon Peer Dustgeer, their favourite patron
saint, to aid them in their difficulties, and shrieked and screamed
till the whole place resounded with their cries.

Sometimes the saints were stony-hearted, probably not being in a
humour to be shouted at, and then the entire body of silky-skinned
darkies would set to work, laughing and shouting, to clear away the
bar of sand. Their paddles forming in this operation, very effective
substitutes for spades and shovels, with much difficulty we reached
the lake, and about nine o'clock arrived at Baramoula.

Here the river ceases to be navigable, and abandons itself for a
short time to irregular and wanton habits, before finally sowing its
wild mountain oats, and becoming the staid and sedate Jhelum of the
Plains. Unlike some rivers, the Jhelum contains more water in the
middle of summer than at other times. Its principal resources are
the snows, and these mighty masses are so wrapped up in their own
frigid magnificence that it requires a good deal of warm persuasion
from the sun to melt their icy hearts to tears.

OCTOBER 3. -- Took the road once more, and started for Muree. Our
train was increased by a couple of volunteer native travellers,
who were glad of our society in order that they might get clear of
the Maharajah's dominions with as little questioning as possible. Our
coolies numbered twenty-six, so that altogether our forces now reached
to thirty-eight. After a fine march, we halted at Nowshera, where the
dashing river afforded us an exciting swim before breakfast. Coming out
of the water, however, I had the ill luck to slip upon a treacherous
rock, and, falling heavily on my side, and so over into the rapid
stream, had some difficulty in fishing myself out again, and was very
near taking an unpleasantly short cut to the Plains. In the evening,
when the cook came to inspect the larder for dinner, it was discovered,
that, with an unusual want of presence of mind, a newly-killed sheep
had been left by mistake in the boats for the benefit of the already
overpaid boatmen. This was the third animal we had lost, from various
causes, during our travels, and the mishap most seriously affected
the success of our dinner arrangements for the day.

OCTOBER 4. -- Found great difficulty in getting up this morning
after my fall, and still more in walking three miles, which I had
to do before finding a pony. The view was beautiful the whole way;
but we had been so gorged with scenery of all sorts and kinds,
that rugged passes, shady dells, waterfalls, &c., however precious
they may become in future recollection, were almost thrown away
upon us for the time being. Breakfasted under the pine trees, near
an ancient temple, and halted at Uree, where there was a baraduree
for travellers. Except, however, to very dirty travellers indeed,
it would be of little use. While descending a very steep part of
the road, my saddle suddenly slipped over the pony's round little
carcase on to his neck, and, NOLENS VOLENS, I came to the ground,
the pony remaining in a position very nearly perpendicular, with
his tail towards the heavens and his head between my legs, in which
predicament he luckily remained perfectly quiet, until the bhistie,
coming up behind, set us both on our proper extremities once more.

OCTOBER 5. -- Started for Chukothee, and thinking, in an evil moment,
to walk off the effects of my late mishap, I essayed the fifteen
miles on foot.

Long before reaching half way, however, I began to look about for
anything in the shape of a pony, that might appear in sight; but,
none being forthcoming, I was obliged to finish as I had begun, and
at last reached our destination, a snug little village, buried in
fields of yellow rice upon the hill-side. On the way, I fell in with
a fine old Mussulman Zemindar, trudging along on his return to Delhi,
from paying a visit to Sirinugger.

Being an unusually talkative old gentleman, we fraternized by the way,
and he told me that he had been to see the civil commissioner of his
district, now acting as commissioner in the valley, to make his salaam,
relative to a "jageer," or Government grant of certain villages to the
amount of some three thousand rupees per annum, which he had succeeded
in obtaining on account of his loyalty during the recent mutiny.

Of this three thousand rupees, it appeared that only one thousand
would come into his own pocket, the remainder being payable as rent,
&c. to Government.

His son had also a jageer of twelve thousand rupees, so that both he
and his family were loyal and well to do in the world. His ideas of
Cashmere were rather amusing. He appeared to think it a miserable spot
enough, compared to his own land, and the only advantage he could hit
upon, was, in my estimation, quite the reverse, viz: THAT SIRINUGGER

The rice he had a supreme contempt for. It was not to be compared
with the Indian rice, and the Cashmeeries he pooh-poohed, as being
no judges whatever of its qualities, and, in fact; not fit to eat
rice at all. He seemed quite unable to understand my walking when I
could ride; or, indeed, why I should leave such a charming country
as India to be uncomfortable in Cashmere, without even having any
jageer business to transact as an excuse.

Our coolies, being an unusually miserable crew, we got breakfast about
two P.M. To-day our tent lamp finished its erratic life, according to
the Dhobie's account, by self-destruction! That good for nothing piece
of charcoal had, however, doubtless dashed the solid cut-glass globe,
which formed the chief glory of the instrument, against a rock, while
thinking of his hubble bubble, and his little blackamoors at home.

The lamp had got over all the difficulties of the road from Lahore to
Ladak and back, and had been quite a peep-show to half the natives of
Thibet, who were never tired of regarding their multiplied countenances
in the numerous cut circles of the glass shade, so that we felt quite
grieved at its melancholy loss. Our water bottle also to-day finished
its existence, and the table came into camp a bundle of sticks;
so that everything seemed to betoken the approaching dissolution of
the expedition. The farm-yard consists of five ducks, all strangers,
and a pet sheep, and the khiltas look haggard and dilapidated in the
extreme. The musical cock, alone, of old friends still survives,
but he appears in weak health, and his constitution is evidently
undermined by the changes of climate it has undergone. We were here
worried by a party of strolling mountebanks from the Punjab, who
persisted in horrifying us by making two young girls and three boys,
all apparently entirely destitute of bones, stand upon their heads,
and go through similar performances on the grass. The girl actually
pattered a measure with her feet upon the back of her head, and
the proprietors seemed utterly unable to account for our apathetic
disregard of so extremely talented and interesting a performance.

OCTOBER 6. -- Left for Hutteian, about fifteen miles off. Ponies
being scarce, I had to walk part of the way; but the sepoy, pitching
by chance upon our friends, the Punjabees, triumphantly carried
off a stout little animal of theirs for my use. Before mounting,
however, I was mobbed by the tumbling family, EN MASSE, who went on
their knees in their solicitations to be exempt from the seizure
of their property. Finding me obdurate in retaining the pony at a
fair valuation, with "the army" to bear me out, they proceeded to
diplomatic measures to gain their end. First, a very small child,
choosing a stony place in the path, suddenly stood upon her head,
and proceeded to form black knots with her body. Finding that this
only caused me to threaten her father with a stick, they produced
a blind girl, who threw herself half naked at my feet and cried
by order. The poor creature had lost her sight by the small-pox,
and I had remarked her the day before patiently toiling over rocks
and broken paths with one little child in her arms, and another half
leading, half obstructing her, endeavouring to guide her footsteps
down the rocks. She, however, got no immediate benefit from the pony
of contention; so, giving her some money to console her in her forced
misery, I still remained inexorable. After this, the encampment broke
up, with all its pots and pans, cows and fowl, &c. and took to the
road, leaving me in undisturbed possession of my new conveyance. The
weather began to astonish us a little to-day, by a renewed accession of
October heat. Still the climate was delightful. Morning and evenings
always cool, and sometimes cold, and a bright cheery blue invariably
over head, while a refreshing breeze made music through the pine trees,
and waved the golden ears of rice.

Encamped under a spreading sycamore, at the junction of two mountain
streams. To-day a new order of bridge appeared, consisting merely of
a single rope, the passengers being tugged across in a basket. From
its appearance it was rather a matter of congratulation that we were
not called upon to cross it.

OCTOBER 7. -- Being Sunday, we made a halt, and enjoyed a refreshing
bathe in the stream, and a rest from the toils of the road.

OCTOBER 8. -- Left "Hutteian," and, winding along the valley,
arrived, by a steep ascent, at Chukar, a little village boasting a
fort and a small nest of Sepoys. It also owned a curiously DIRTY,
and consequently SAINTLY Fukeer, whom we found sitting bolt upright,
newly decorated with ashes, and with an extremely florid collection
of bulls, demons, &c. painted about the den he occupied. On the road
I again picked up the old Mussulman, who seemed delighted to chat,
and gave me an account of the part he had played in the mutiny.

He appeared frequently to have warned his Commissioner that an outbreak
was about to take place, but without his crediting the story; and when
it actually did occur, the latter fled from his station at Lahore,
and took shelter with a friendly Risaldar until the storm should blow
over. From thence he sent for the old gentleman, my informant, and
"Imam Buksh" forthwith mounted his camel and came with five and twenty
armed followers to his assistance. While here, a party of rebels came
searching for English, and Mr. Buksh narrated how he went forth to
meet them, and proclaimed, that they might kill the Englishman if they
would, but must first dispose not only of himself, but also of his
five and twenty followers. Upon this they abused him, and asked him,
"What sort of a Mussulman he called himself?" and denounced him as a
"Feringee," or foreigner.

The rebels, however, finally went off, and the Commissioner and his
family, by Imam Buksh's further assistance, succeeded in escaping
all the dangers of the times. For this service it was that the old
gentleman had just received his jageer of two villages, now some
years after the occurrence of the events.

He appeared to think very little of the Maharajah's rule, and
was of opinion that the people were miserably oppressed, paying,
by his account, two thirds of the produce of their lands to the
Government. This was in kind, but, where the revenue was taken in coin,
a produce of about fourteen pounds of grain was subject to a tax of
two rupees. On the subject of the cause of the mutiny in India, he
said that greased cartridges certainly had nothing to do with it; for
the rest, why, "It was the will of God, and so it happened." To induce
him to argue on the POSSIBILITY of the mutiny having been successful,
I found to be out of the question. "It was the power of God which
had prevented the rebels from gaining over us, and, in the name of
the Holy Prophet and the twelve Imams, how then could it have been
otherwise?" As to the probability, however, of there being another
mutiny, he admitted that he thought there would be one, but that, as
long as we maintained justice, no other power could hold the country
against us. On my asking him if we did not maintain justice in the
land, he said no, and adduced the fact that in every case brought
before the courts an enormous amount of bribery goes on among the
Rishtidars, and other understrappers, whereby the man with most money
wins his cause. No Englishman, he thought, could take a bribe, but he
seemed to be under the impression that those in authority were aware of
the system being carried on by those beneath them. He admitted that he
knew of one native who would not take a bribe! and dwelt largely on the
subject, as if it were a wonderful fact, which I have no doubt it was.

In the evening we presented Mr. Imam Buksh with some of our sheep,
which delighted his heart immensely, and he spent the entire evening in
cooking and eating it, together with a perfect mountain of chupatties,
which he manufactured with great care and deliberation.

OCTOBER 9. -- Left our camp very early, and had a sharp ascent up the
mountains. A considerable descent again, brought us to the village
of Mehra, where we pitched our tents, once more within sight of the
territories of India.

OCTOBER 10. -- Marched into Dunna, our last halting-place in
Cashmere. It is situated nearly at the summit of the frontier range
of hills, and commanded a most extensive view of the mountains of
Cashmere and Cabul, besides those on the Indian side.

OCTOBER 11. -- Took a last fond glance towards "the valley," and
descended by a very steep and difficult path to the river Jhelum,
which forms the boundary between the two territories. Here a couple
of queerly-shaped, rudely-constructed boats, with two huge oars
apiece, one astern and one at the side, formed the traveller's flying
bridge. Into one of these the whole of our possessions and coolies,
&c. were stowed, and we commenced the passage of the stream.

This we managed by, in the first instance, coasting up the bank for
several hundred yards, and then striking boldly into the current;
and it was amusing to see our well-crammed boat suddenly drawn into
the rapid stream and whisked and whirled about like a straw, while a
nice calculation on the part of the skipper, and a good deal of rowing
and shouting on that of the sailors, enabled us to touch the opposite
shore not very far below the point from which we had started. One
last lingering look at Cashmerian ground, a step over the side, and
we were once more standing upon the territories of Queen Victoria,
and in the burning land of India -- happily, however, still six days'
journey from the Plains.

OCTOBER 12. -- Marched up the spur of the Muree Hill to Dewul,
where we found a room in a mud fort converted into a halting-place
for travellers, reached by a series of break-neck ladders, and
looking very much like a cell in a prison, with its two chairs
and clumsy wooden table. Here we found a little amusement in the
arrival of the Chota Sahib, or "small gentleman," -- otherwise
the Assistant Civil Commissioner of the district, -- to review the
fort and its dependencies. On the first tidings of his approach,
the Thanadar immediately turned out the entire garrison, consisting
of twelve military policemen, called "Burqundaz," or "Flashers of
lightning!" These soon appeared in their full dress of crimson turbans
and yellow tights, and, shouldering their "flint-locks," proceeded to
perform a series of intricate evolutions, by way of practice for the
rapidly-approaching inspection. When the great little man did arrive,
there was, we thought, a good deal of irregularity among the troops,
such as laughing in the ranks and treading on toes, &c. However,
the only point the inspecting officer dwelt upon was the absence of
uniformity in dress, caused by the deficiency of two pairs of yellow
tights among the lightning flashers, otherwise he appeared perfectly
satisfied, and all went off well. After his review he invited himself
to our dinner-party, and honoured our repast with the further addition
of a kid stew. He turned out to be one of the ex-Company's officers,
a subaltern of eighteen years' service, FIFTEEN of which had been
spent away from his regiment on the staff. He was with his corps,
however, when it mutinied, and escaped without much difficulty. The
unfortunate colonel of the regiment, finding that none of his men
would shoot him, had done so with his own hand. He gave it as his
opinion that the cartridges WERE the cause of the mutiny; but allowed
that his regiment was in a bad state of discipline some time before,
and that all the native corps were known to be disaffected years
before the event occurred, both by the officers present and those
absent upon staff employ. Altogether, after the Chota Sahib had
thoroughly discussed both the mutiny and the dinner, we were left
under the impression that there was quite sufficient cause for the
disaffection of the Bengal army without ever arriving at the vexed
question of greased cartridges at all.

OCTOBER 13. -- Marched early into the Hill Station of Muree. Not being
yet quite in walking trim, I had pressed a mule into the service,
who carried me in good style as far as the entrance to the town. Here,
however, he seemed suddenly to remember that we had each a character
to support, and, stopping short, he utterly refused to budge another
step. Not being willing even to be led, I finally abandoned him to
his own devices, and walked on to the Commandant's bungalow, where
I found my companion already hospitably received, and comfortably
seated at breakfast, discussing kidneys and beefsteaks, and such like
unwonted delicacies of the Muree season.

After getting somewhat over the novelty and discomfort of being again
in a house with doors and glass windows, and other inconveniences,
we sallied out to inspect the station.

Like its CONFRERES of the Hills -- Simla, Kussowlie, &c. Muree was
a prettily-situated little settlement, with houses scattered about
entirely according to the freaks and fancies of the owners, and with
utter disregard of all system whatever. The Mall was a fine one,
and its gaily-dressed frequenters, in jhampans and palkees, &c. were
of the unmistakeable stamp of Anglo India in the Hills. Two or three
of the ladies, however, were bold enough to walk, and looked none
the worse for being divorced from their almost inseparable vehicles,
and unattended by their motley crowd of red, and green, and variegated

OCTOBER 14. -- Spent a quiet day among the hospitalities of Muree, and
became gradually accustomed to CITY LIFE. Going to church seemed rather
a strange process, and the building itself was but a bad exchange
for the grander temples which we had frequented for so many Sundays.

OCTOBER 15. -- Laid our dak by doolie to Lahore, and, with our
hospitable entertainer to guide us, started at five P.M. by a short
cut, to meet our new conveyances.

Reaching the main road, we once more packed ourselves away in our
boxes, and, the sun soon setting his last for us upon the Cashmere
mountains, left us to make our way down to the miserable plains as
fast as the flaring and spluttering light of a couple of pine torches
would allow our bearers to patter along.

From this, until we reach Lahore, we are accompanied by an incessant
shuffle shuffle of naked feet through the dusty road; jabbering and
shouting of blacks, flickering of torches, bumping of patched and
straining doolies against mounds of earth, glimpses of shining naked
bodies, streaming with perspiration, as they flit about, and the whole
enveloped in dense and suffocating clouds of dust, which penetrate
everything and everywhere, and soon become, in fact, a part of one's
living breathing existence; occasionally, outstripping our procession,
a vision passes, like the glimmer of a white strip of linen, a
stick, and a black and polished body, it rushes by like the wind,
and disappears in the gloom of dust and night, and, in a second, her
Majesty's mail has passed us on the road! As we near the plains this
vision undergoes a slight change, and takes the form of an apparition
of two wild horses tearing away with a red and almost body-less cart;
this also goes by like a flash, but gives more notice of its coming,
and our torches, for a second, light up the figure of a wild huntsman,
with red and streaming turban, who sits behind the steeds and blows a
defiant blast at us as he also vanishes into the darkness. About seven
miles from Muree, we halted for dinner, and made renewed acquaintance
with that interesting object -- the Indian roadside chicken.

OCTOBER 16. -- Arrived early at Rawul Pindee, and breakfasted at
seven, apparently off guttapercha and extract of sloe leaves. On
again immediately, and reached Gugerkhan bungalow at seven P.M. hot,
apoplectic, and saturated with dust.

The room smells thoroughly of the plains; an odour, as it were,
of punkhas, mosquitoes, and mustiness, not to be found elsewhere,
and entirely unexplainable to uninitiated sufferers.

The chicken, whose "fate had been accomplished," died as we entered
the yard, and was on the table in the fashion of a warm SPREAD EAGLE
in fifteen minutes! After this delicacy is duly discussed, the doolies
are emptied of dust, the bedding laid down, and jolt, jolt, creak,
creak, grunt, grunt, on we go again, until sleep good-naturedly
comes to make us oblivious of all things. The kahars, or bearers,
however, take a different view of life, and at every relief a crowd
of sniggering darkies assemble, on both sides, with applications for
bukshish. At first one hears, "Sahib, Sahib!" in a deprecating tone
of voice, mindful of sudden wakings of former Sahibs, sticks, and
consequent sore backs, then piu forte, "Sahib!" crescendo, "Sahib,
Sahib!" and then at last, in a burst of harmony, "Sahib purana Baira
kutch bukshish mil jawe?"[33] and the miserable doolie traveller, who
has been, probably, feigning sleep in sulky savageness for the last
ten minutes, makes a sudden dive through the curtains with a stick, an
exclamation is heard very like swearing, only in a foreign language,
and the troop of applicants vanish like a shot, keeping up, however,
a yelping of Sahibs, and Purana Bairas, and Bukshishs, until the new
bearers get fairly under weigh, and have carried their loads beyond
hearing. None but those who have been woken up in this manner from a
comfortable state of unconsciousness, to the full realities of doolie
travelling in Indian heat and dust, can form an idea of the trial
it is to one's temper; and, from my own feelings, together with the
sounds I hear from my companion's direction, I can testify as to the
relief that the use of foreign expletives affords under the affliction.

OCTOBER 17. -- Arrived at Jhelum about eight A.M. to all intents and
purposes dust inside and out. Flesh and blood can stand no more for the
present, and we resolve to halt here for the day. The weather appears
quite as hot as when we started, and the wind comes in, hot and dry,
and makes one feel like a herring of the reddest; while an infernal
punkha is creaking its monotonous tune, as it flaps to and fro in the
next room, making one again realize to the full, "the pleasures of the
plains." We begin, in fact, to discover that the thorns which were not
forthcoming on the Cashmere roses are too surely to be found elsewhere.

OCTOBER 18. -- Reached Goojerat at cock-crow; thus completing
a distinct circle of travel through Bimber, Sirinugger, Ladak,
Kushtwar, Muree, and back to our present halting-place, from whence
we had originally branched off.

OCTOBER 19. -- A dusty night's work brought us at two A.M. to
Goojerwala. Here we found that there was no bungalow between us and
Lahore, and, consequently, no chance of either a wash or breakfast
should we go on; we therefore chose loss of time in preference to
loss of breakfast, with the addition of a day under a broiling sun,
and halted until the authorities should awake to feed us.

OCTOBER 20. -- Reached Lahore before sunrise, and got our letters
and papers from the post once more. Afterwards we laid our dak for
Cawnpore, and made all arrangements for a start in the evening.

OCTOBER 21. -- Arrived at Umritsur about three A.M., and remained in
our coaches until sunrise, when we set off for a stroll through the
city. This we found the cleanest, if not the only clean, town we had
seen since landing in India. The streets were well drained and built,
and were guarded by a force of yellow-legged, red-turbaned Punjabee
policemen, who were provided, like their brother blue-bottles at home,
with staves and rattles instead of the more usual insignia of sword
and shield. The houses were almost all decorated, outside and in, with
grotesque mythological and other paintings, such as Vishnu annihilating
Rakshus, or demons of various kinds, or wonderful battle-pieces,
wherein pale-faced, unhealthy-looking people, in tailed coats and
cocked hats, might be seen performing prodigies of valour, assisted
by bearded and invincible Sikh warriors of ferocious exterior. The
shops were built with verandahs, and the piazza character of some of
the streets, in conjunction with the unusual cleanliness, gave one a
very agreeable impression of Umritsur and its municipal corporation,
whoever that body may be. The inhabitants are principally Sikhs,
fine-looking men generally, with long beards turned up at either
side of their faces, and knotted with their hair under the voluminous
folds of their turbans.

OCTOBER 22. -- Out at four A.M. to explore the great durbar, or
head-quarters of the Sikh religion in the Punjab. Entering through a
highly decorated archway in the kotwalee, or police station, we came
upon an enormous tank, with steps descending into the water on all
sides, and planted around with large and shady trees. In the centre
of this rose the temple of the Sikhs, a light-looking, richly-gilt
edifice, the lower part of which was constructed of inlaid stones upon
white marble. From this to one side of the tank, a broad causeway
led, decorated with handsome railings, and lamps of gilt-work upon
marble pedestals. Along this, crowds of people were passing to and
fro, arrayed in every possible variety of costume and colour. Sikhs,
Hindoos, Mussulmen -- men, women, and children, crowded together like
bees in a hive. Round the edges of the tank were handsome buildings,
minarets, &c. with trees and gardens attached to them; and that,
towards the causeway, was divided in two by a fine and richly-decorated
archway, in the upper part of which a party of patriarchal old Sikhs
were squatted on their haunches, discoursing the affairs of the
nation. This whole scene opened upon our view at a glance. The sun
had as yet scarcely appeared over the horizon, and the reflection
of its light shone faintly upon the gold-work and ornaments of the
central building, tipping it and the lofty minarets with rosy light,
whilst the rest of the buildings remained shrouded in the morning
haze. With the incessant bustle of the thronging, brightly-vestured
crowd, and the accompaniment of the wild discordant tom-toming of a
band of turbaned musicians, it formed a scene which almost persuaded
one to put once more confidence in the brightly-coloured descriptions
of the "Arabian Nights." While waiting for sun-rise, we ascended one
of the minarets, from which we had a curious bird's-eye view of the
tank and surrounding city at our feet, while the plains lay stretching
away before us; the horizon level and unbroken, as if it bounded in
the ocean. From this we had also a private view of the manners and
customs of the natives. Just below us was an early morning scene in
the life of a Sikh gentleman. He was sitting up in his "four-leg,"
on the open court of an upper story, which formed his bed-room,
while his attendants were offering him his morning cup of coffee,
and otherwise attending to his wants. In one corner, another Sikh
gentleman, with one arm, was having a brass vessel of water poured
over him, and a number of similar vessels stood upon a sort of rack,
ready for the master of the house to have his bath.

Scattered about the foot of the bed, which had a grandly decorated
canopy, was a deputation of white-robed Sikhs paying their morning
visit, or having an audience upon some matter of business. These by
degrees got up and went out, each making a profound salaam as he passed
the bed. One of them only, the old man called back, and with him, as
he sat upon the "four-leg," he had a long and confidential talk. This
evidently was the medical adviser, and, judging by the dumb-show of
the interview which ensued, the Sikh, as evidently, was the victim
of a cold in his fine old nose, which he had doubtless caught from
sleeping in the open air. After this we repaired to the kotwallee
again, and, getting a pair of slippers in exchange for our boots,
descended to the durbar and mingled with the crowd.

Although we were inadmissible in boots, no objection whatever appeared
to be made to the entrance of Brahminee bulls; for we found a number
of them walking about the mosaic pavement with as much confidence
and impunity as if the place belonged to them.

In the building we found a collection of Sikh padres, or "gooroos,"
sitting behind a massive volume richly cased in cloth of gold and
silver, while squatted around under a canopy, were the Sikh faithful,
offering their presents of cowries, chupatties, balls of sweetmeats,
and showers of yellow and white necklaces of flowers. The book was the
original law of Gooroo Gurunth Sahib, which they had just finished
reading, and, as we entered, they were commencing to cover it up
again, which they did, with great pomp and ceremony, in a number of
cloths of various patterns, after which they distributed the votive
offerings among themselves and the people present, and held a sort of
banquet over the sweets and flowers. In the midst of the proceedings,
a very fine specimen of the race of Fukeer came in, and presenting
an offering of the smallest, laid his head upon the ground before the
book, and, without a word, took himself off again. He was girt round
the loins with a yellowish-red cloth; his body, from head to foot,
was covered with ashes. The hair of his head was matted together in
strips, like the tail of an uncared cow, and reached to his waist. A
shallow earthen pot was his hat, and over his shoulders hung two large
gourds, suspended by a cord, while in his hand he carried a long staff,
covered over with stuff of the same kind as that round his waist. Such
was the figure which entered among the gaily-dressed multitude in the
saintly durbar; and, although to the assembled people there appeared
nothing whatever either strange or unusual in the arrival, to us,
who were looking on, the contrast between the unclad dirty mendicant,
and the pure white vestments of the Sikhs around, rendered it a most
striking and remarkable apparition.

On entering, he had removed the earthen pot which formed his hat, and,
one of the two gourds which were round his shoulders having fallen to
the ground in the act, it was amusing to see him pause for a second,
and anxiously examine whether any compound fracture had taken place
in the precious article of his very limited dinner service. One
extremity of the building we found was occupied for Hindoo worship;
so that fraternity and equality, worthy of imitation seems to be
the order of the day among the religions of Umritsur. The interior
was richly decorated with gilding and mirrors, &c., but was little
worthy of remark in comparison with the richness of the exterior
effect. Presenting a "bukshish" to the expectant padres who guarded
the sacred book, we left them to their devotions, and betook ourselves
once more to our bungalow.

OCTOBER 23. -- Travelling all night, we reached Jullunder at six
A.M., and, after breakfast, again started for Loodianah, where we
dined. We here again crossed the Sutlej, but, the water being low,
boat navigation was dispensed with, and a shaky bridge, and about
two miles of sandy river-bed, completed the passage.

At Loodianah we were stormed by a host of merchants, with pushmeena
and other soft matters, who were rather disappointed at finding we
had come from the birth-place of such like manufactures. Some of the
local shawls, however, or "Rampore chudders," were beautifully fine
and delicate, and seemed worthy of inspection.

OCTOBER 24. -- Reached Umballa at eight A.M., and started again
shortly after. Our horses to-day were most miserable caricatures,
and it was with difficulty we managed to progress at all. The last
stage was accomplished at a walk; and what with this and the delay
caused by a couple of sandy river-beds, we only reached Kurnaul at
ten P.M. The miserable condition of the horses was accounted for
by the enormously high price of grain and the absence of grass,
in consequence of the want of rain. The general topic, in fact,
is now the failure of the rains, and consequent apprehensions of a
famine throughout the land. "Atar" is here eight seers the rupee, or
in other words, flour sells at one shilling and ninepence a stone --
an enormous price in these parts.

OCTOBER 25. -- Sunrise found us still half-way to Delhi, and we
stopped to breakfast at the little bungalow of Ghureekulla. Here we
found a fine old Khansaman, who gave us an account of the incidents
of the Mutiny which came under his notice. He had received a flying
party of two hundred men, women, and children, who arrived at dead of
night, some on horses, some on foot, and all worn and haggard by their
march from Delhi, from which they had escaped. These he took care of,
and supplied with food until the following day, when they departed,
without, by his own account, giving him anything, either as pay or
reward. He afterwards assisted others also, and received about one
hundred and twenty rupees, one way or another, for his services. At
present he receives six rupees a month, with whatever he can pick up
from travellers; not a very large amount in the out-of-the-way little
jungle station of Ghureekulla.

OCTOBER 26. -- Passed through Delhi by moonlight, and reached the
bungalow at one A.M. At gun-fire we emerged from our locomotives,
and went to explore the king's palace. In spite of the late lesson on
the subject of sepoys, we found the gates of the fort held entirely
by native guards, and a very small body of Europeans located within
the walls. After rambling through the place, and discovering that
its only beauty lay at present in its exterior, we went to the Jama
Musjid, a fine mosque of red granite, inlaid in parts with white
marble. The cupolas, of great size, were entirely marble, and the
minarets, also of marble, were closely inlaid. The place had been
only recently handed over to the Moslems after its late seizure,
and was not as yet used for worship. Ascending one of the minarets,
we had a fine view of the city of the Great Mogul dynasty, with its
minarets and ornamented streets; and in the distance we could discern
the positions occupied by our besieging force, when the last of the
kings was brought so rudely to the termination of his reign.

OCTOBER 27. -- Reached Koel, or Allyghur, at eight A.M. Started again
at five, stopping on the way to inspect the Jama Musjid, and a very
fine old tower, probably of Buddhist or Jain origin, which was covered
over with ancient inscriptions. Just as the Muezzin was calling to
evening prayer, we again resumed our monotonous order of travel,
and branched off towards Agra to visit the famous Taj Mahul.

OCTOBER 28. -- Reached Agra at two A.M., and finding the bungalow full,
had to go to the hotel. At sunrise we drove out to the Taj, and here,
I think, for the first time, we were not disappointed in the difference
between reality and description. The entrance to the gardens in which
the Taj is situated was beautiful in itself, but one sight of the
main building left no room for admiration of anything besides.

It is situated on the banks of the Jumna, with a fine view of the
magnificent fort, with its mosque and minarets, and is entirely of
pure white marble, inlaid with stones into shapes of flowers and
arabesques, &c. At each corner rises a white marble minaret, like a
pillar of snow, beautifully decorated and carved, but unsullied by a
single line of any other colour whatever. The interior is profusely
inlaid with minute stones of considerable value, and is lit by carved
marble windows of the most beautiful design imaginable. In the centre,
surrounding the tomb of Mumtaz and her lord, is a marvellous white
marble screen, in the form of a polygon, carved like perforated ivory,
and also inlaid with minute stones of every shape and colour.[34]
The queen, in whose honour the tomb was built, occupies the very
centre of the enclosure, Shah Jehan's tomb being on one side of it,
and larger in size, which rather spoils the symmetry of the space.

Exactly underneath the tombs, in the main body of the building,
one descends to a marble vault, where there are two others precisely
similar in shape, but without any inscription or ornament whatever,
and under these latter the mortal remains of the famous Shah Jehan
and Mumtaz repose in peace. Over the queen's tomb, in the very centre
of the interior, a single ostrich egg was suspended by an almost
invisible thread, probably to shadow forth something of the meaning
of the "Resurgam" affixed to monuments elsewhere. On either side,
without the mausoleum, are two buildings facing inwards, one of which
is a mosque, built in red granite and white marble; and the whole are
profusely ornamented with carvings in marble, which would take an age
to examine thoroughly, and which produce an effect quite incapable
of being adequately portrayed by either pen or pencil.

In one of these edifices, among the inlaid work and arabesques,
and not far from the mortal remains of the departed King and Queen,
we found a curious and interesting inscription, which seems to have
been hitherto unmentioned by the many travellers who have visited
the sacred spot. It was prominently placed and easily decipherable,
being in unusually large letters, and in that character which might
be called the "UNEIFORM," of which so many valuable specimens exist
in all parts of the known globe.

It ran thus : --


The sentence appeared unfinished, and one or two words were probably
required to complete the sense, but from similar existing records
there could be no difficulty in filling in the missing syllables.

It was curious, however, to reflect what the feeling could have been
that stayed the writer's hand, and prevented him from finishing his
graceful tribute to the mighty dead.

Mumtaz, from whose name the word "Taj" is derived (the letter "z"
being incapable of being pronounced by many natives except as a
"j"),was the daughter of the famous Noor Jehan's brother Asoph
Khan. Shah Jehan followed his queen in A.D. 1665, and was laid in the
building which he had himself originally designed in her honour alone.

With Noor Jehan and Jehangeer the case was reversed. The conqueror
of the world ended his career in A.D. 1627, and the partner of all
his Cashmerian wanderings, and many adventures, who wore no colour
but white after his death, finally rejoined him in a tomb which she
had raised to his memory at Lahore.

Having paid due homage to the beauty of the far-famed mausoleum, we
went to the Fort, and, after visiting the Ram Bagh, the Ikmam Dowlah,
and the various palaces built by Akbar Shah, once more took the road,
and were soon again galloping through the dust, morning bringing us
to the bungalow of Bewah. From this we again made for Ghoorsahagunge
and Cawnpore, and by rail to Allahabad, there completing a circuit
of travel extending to between two and three thousand miles:

"In heat and cold
We'd roved o'er many a hill and many a dale,
Through many a wood and many an open ground,
In sunshine and in shade, in wet and fair,
Thoughtful or blithe of heart as might befall
Our best companions, now the driving winds,
And now the trotting brooks and whispering trees,
And now the music of our own quick steps
With many a short-lived thought that passed between
And disappeared."

And now but one day more remains of our six months' leave. The 31st of
October sees us again fairly in the hands of the authorities. Brothers
in arms, who during our absence have been having "all work and no
play," receive us with warm and disinterested welcome. The Q.M.G. is
hauled away in triumph by a swarm of fellow black-legs to glad the
squaw-like partner of his sooty bosom. The last remnants of the
expedition are fairly broken up, and already the days when we went
gipsying have passed away "a long time ago."


Cawnpore 120
Ghoorsahagunge 72
Etawah 73
Kurga 72
Delhi 51
Kurnaul 73
Umballa 45
Kalka 40
Kussowlie 9
Simla 40
Hureepore 20
Kalka 29
Umballa 40
Thikanmajura 36
Jullundur 61
Umritsur 59
Lahore 35
Gugerwalla 39
Goojerat 30
Bimber 27
Serai Saidabad 12
Nowshera 11
Chungas 11
Rajaori 12
Thanna 12
Burrumgulla 11
Poshana 6
Peer Punjal 9
Poshana 9
Aliabad 11
Heerpore 13
Shupayon 6
Ramoon 9
Sirinugger 14
Wuler by water
Islamabad ,,
Atchabull 6
Vernagh 11
Islamabad 15
Sirinugger by water
Gunberbull ,,
Kungur 11
Gundisursing 12
Soonamurg 14
Foot of the Hills 9
Pandras 24
Dras 8
Tusgam 14
Chungun 12
Pushkoom 10
Waka 13
Khurboo 10
Lamieroo 12
Nurila 16
Suspul 14
Egnemo 10
Ladak 18
Chunga 18
Hemis 2
Ladak 20
Pitok 4
Egnemo 14
Suspul 10
Nurila 14
Lamieroo 16
Khurboo 12
Waka 10
Pushkoom 13
Thambis 14
Sankoo 16
Sooroo 12
Among the Mountains 11
Ditto 14
Sucknez 11
Bragnion 14
Peer 16
Nowbogh 9
Kukunath 10
Atchabull 8
Islamabad 6
Sirinugger by water
Baramoula ,,
Nowshera 8
Uree 15
Chukothee 15
Hutteian 14
Chukar 9
Mehra 6
Dunna 6
Puttun 6
Dewul 9
Muree 11
Rawul Pindee 37
Gugerkhan 30
Jhelum 37
Goojerat 31
Gugerwalla 30
Lahore 39
Umritsur 35
Jullundur 59
Loodiana 32
Umballa 71

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