Three Months of My Life by Foster, J. F. (John Frederick)
[Transcriber's Note: At the conclusion of this diary, the author writes: "If these notes should ever be written out by my relations after my death--for I am now like to die, let me beg that the many mistakes in spelling, consequent upon the hurry and roughness of the writing, may by corrected and not set down to ignorance." The relations may indeed have corrected many errors, but many remain, and they have been left as in the original.]
THREE MONTHS OF MY LIFE.
OF THE LATE J.F. FOSTER, ASSISTANT-SURGEON, HER MAJESTY'S 36TH FOOT.
_Edited by LIZZIE A. FREETH._
GUERNSEY: LE LIEVRE, PRINTER, STAR-OFFICE, 10, BORDAGE STREET. LONDON: SIMPKIN & MARSHALL 1873.
MY GRATITUDE TO GOD-- FOR HIS MERCY IN PRESERVING ME THUS FAR, AND BRINGING ME SAFELY HOME AFTER SEVERAL YEARS SERVICE IN INDIA, TO MEET AGAIN ALL (SAVE ONE) THOSE MOST DEAR TO ME.
MY BOOK TO MY PARENTS, WITH THE CERTAIN AND HAPPY KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY WILL READ WITHOUT CRITICISM AND ONLY WITH AFFECTIONATE INTEREST, THE ACCOUNT OF MY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES WHILE WANDERING IN A REMOTE AND LOVELY CORNER OF THE EARTH.
In laying the following pages before the public, I do so with a feeling that they will be read with interest, not only by those who knew the writer, but those to whom the scenes described therein are known, and also those who appreciate a true description of a country which they may never have the good fortune to see. We are all familiar with Kashmir in the "fanciful imagery of Lalla Rookh," at the same time may not object to reading an account--with a ring of truth in it--of that lovely land, lovely and grand, beyond the power of poets to describe as it really is, so travellers say. Readers will see that Mr. Foster intended to have published this Diary himself had he been spared to reach England, he has offered any apology that is necessary, so I will say nothing further than to state, the daily entries were kept in a pocket-book written in pencil, occasionally a word is not quite legible, that will account for any little inaccuracy. After being two years at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, under the Rev. A. Corfe, Mr. Foster entered St. George's Hospital, as Student of Medicine, he received there in his last year the "Ten Guinea Prize" for General Proficiency. From St. George's he went to Netley, and on leaving that he served for a short time in Jersey, with the 2nd Battallion 1st Royals, and 1st Battallion 6th Royals, after which he embarked for India, where from February, 1868, to the beginning of 1869, he served with the following Regiments, &c., 91st Highlanders, at Dum Dum; F Battery C. Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, at Benares; 27th Inniskillings, at Hazareebagh, Bengal Depôt, Chinsurah; Detachment 58th Regiment, at Sahibgunge; Head-Quarters 58th Regiment, at Sinchal, again at the Bengal Depôt Chinsurah; Head-Quarters 107th Regiment, at Allahabad; Detachment 107th Regiment, at Fort Allahabad; G Battery 11th Brigade Royal Artillery, at Cawnpore; Left Wing 36th Regiment, Moradabad; Head-Quarters 36th Regiment, Peshawur, from whence ultimately we find he started for Kashmir in the hope of regaining his health, a vain hope as events proved, as he died on the passage home at Malta. During the course of publication I have received many letters from people who were personally acquainted with Mr. Foster who had met him at home and abroad, from the tone of which letters I gather he was held in the highest possible estimation as a friend, a medical man, and an officer. I am indebted to the kindness of his father, Dr. John L. Foster, of this island, for being allowed to publish these interesting memorials of one who had now passed "To where beyond these voices there is peace."
LIZZIE A. FREETH. Montpellier, Guernsey, Nov. 1873.
This Work requires few prefatory remarks. I have transcribed without alteration, the Diary that I kept during my visit to Kashmir. It may seem a strange jumble of description and sentiment, jocularity and seriousness. During the greater part of each day I enjoyed perfect rest, smoking and thinking--sometimes soberly, often I fear idly--and for mere occupation sake, my thoughts were written as they arose. My mind as influenced by scene or incident, is fully exposed in these pages, and while I have concealed nothing, neither have I added to that which I originally indited. I am necessarily, and indeed intentionally egotistical, because I write for those who will chiefly value a personal narrative. Still, I am not ashamed if others see my book, although I would deprecate their criticism by begging them to remember that I only offer it for the perusal of those near and dear to me.
In the early morning of Midsummer's-day, 1868, I might have been seen slowly wending my way towards the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals, at Peshawur--for the purpose of appearing before the standing Medical Committee of the station, and having an enquiry made concerning the state of my health. A Dooley followed me lest my strength should prove inadequate to the task of walking a quarter of a mile. But let me make my description as short as the Committee did their enquiry. My face, as white as the clothes I wore, told more than my words could, and I was hardly required to recount how that one burning May-day I was called at noon to visit a sick woman, and that while all other Europeans were in their closed and darkened bungalows with punkahs swinging, and thermautidotes blowing cool breezes, I went forth alone on my medical mission to encounter the fierce gaze of the baneful sun, and was overpowered by its fiery influence, or how that I laid a weary month on the sick bed, tormented by day with a never ceasing headache, and by night with a terrible dread, worse than any pain, or to conclude, how the deadly climate of that notoriously evil station afforded me no prospect of improvement. This relation was scarcely needed to procure me a certificate, stating that three months leave of absence to Murree was absolutely essential for my recovery, and a recommendation that I might be allowed to proceed immediately in anticipation of the leave being granted. So the next evening saw me start from Peshawur for Rawul Pindee, in a Dâk Gharie, accompanied by my dog "Silly" and my Madrapee servant or "Boy." Onwards we sped at a gallop, the horses being changed every six miles, through Nowshera, the furnace; over the rapid and icy cold Indus by boat; past Fort Attock, the oven in which our soldiers are done to death; and Hussan Aboul of Lallah Rooke celebrity; arriving at the French Hotel at Pinder, ten miles from Peshawur the following morning. That day I called upon the Officers of the 6th Foot, with whom I had served in Jersey, and was persuaded to dine at mess. A melancholy dinner it was for me, meeting old friends whom I had not seen for so long. Yet not possessing energy enough for conversation or feeling the spirit of "Hail fellows, well met." I felt that my moody silence and ghostlike appearance (for I was dressed in black) threw a gloom over them. This was no doubt a morbid fancy as also was perhaps the idea that they looked at me with pitying eyes. But these feelings seized me, and increased till they became unbearable, and I was glad to escape to my Hotel.
"THREE MONTHS OF MY LIFE."
JULY 4th, 1868.--Started from Murree for Kashmir at 5.30 a.m. Bell, Surgeon 36th Regt. [Since deceased] came with me four miles. Walked on expecting the dandy to overtake me, but it did not, and I marched all the way, nine miles up a steep hill to Khaira Gullee, where I halted and put up in one of the old sheds formerly used by the working party when the road was being made. I am not tired, though my left heel is blistered, which is fair considering I have not walked half a mile for more than a month. The road is excellent and the scenery fine, the Khuds being sometimes deep, but nothing like the eastern Himalayas. The forest too is quite different, fir trees predominating here. Saw many beautiful birds, and regretted I had not brought my gun. In the evening a thunderstorm came on with a cold wind from the north, so I made a good fire with a few fir logs. In the middle of the night the storm became very violent, and large hailstones fell.
JULY 5th.--Got away at sunrise, the rain having quite cleared off, and marched on to Doonga Gullee, up a hill to an elevation of 9,000 feet, and then down again to about 7,000; then up a final steep to Doonga Gullee, 8,000 feet above the sea. The Khuds much grander very deep and precipitous, sometimes falling one or two thousand feet from the edge of the road almost perpendicularly. But the hills are too close together to allow the valleys to be termed magnificent. Reached Doonga Gullee at 10 a.m. The length of last march, eleven miles--the road, a good military one, has been cut in the face of the mountain. Put up at the Dâk Bungalow, and dined with the officers of the working party; among them Heath, of the 88th, and Leggatt and Lyons, of the 77th, whom I knew. A number of tents are pitched here for the working parties from the 19th and 77th Regiments (road making). I was carried part of the march in my dandy--a piece of carpet gathered at each end and hooked to a pole,--the pole being carried on the shoulders of two men. I swung below it just off the ground, and could often look down a vast depth between my knees. My first pickled tongue, cooked the day before yesterday was fly-blown at breakfast this morning. This may seem a trifling note, but it is ominous I fear for the whole of my salted stores.
JULY 6th.--Got up at 4 o'clock and marched on to Bugnoota, a distance of thirteen miles. The first four miles a slight rise, and then a rapid descent all the rest of the way. The road is much narrower, only a mule track in fact, I walked twelve miles, and then felt tired, and had a headache afterwards. Pitched my tent in a tope, (a grove of trees) in company with Dr. and Mrs. Holmes, of Rohat, whom I did not know. Slight rain in the middle of the day, but it cleared off towards evening. Felt all right after an hour's sleep and took a stroll before dinner. Scenery grand, tent pitched on the edge of a deep gorge at the bottom of which is a mountain stream, the hills rising abruptly on the opposite side.
JULY 7th.--Marched on to Abbottabad at sunrise, down hill to the river, and then along its course for two miles over very rough and fatiguing ground, the river having to be forded twice. In rainy weather this is very dangerous as its rush is so impetuous. Up hill again then down into the plain of Abbottabad, 4,000 feet above the sea. Distance twelve miles though only put down eight in the route. Met the General at the bottom of the hill. Put up at the Dâk Bungalow, and met Ford, 88th, and De Marylski, R.A., returning from Kashmir, got some hints from them. Abbottabad is a small cantonment on a large plain surrounded by bare mountains, a notice is posted in my room warning travellers not to go unarmed; so I'll gird on my Kookery to-morrow. A Kookery is a formidable native knife, about eighteen inches long and over two inches wide, carried in a peculiar way, sheep and goats heads come off very easily at a single blow from it. Much hotter down here, the sun powerful after 10 o'clock, but Punkahs not necessary. This is the Head-Quarters of the Punjab Frontier force. A pity they do not have an English Regiment stationed here as it is a very pleasant place as regards climate. Snow in winter, and this the warmest time of the year quite bearable. Brigadier gone to the _hills_ for the _hot weather._ Took in supplies of bread and butter and purchased a pair of chuplus or sandals for marching in, as boots hurt my feet.
JULY 8th.--A long tedious march of nearly fifteen miles to Mansera, put down in the guide as a level plain road, but having a good many ups and downs. One of my sandals broke, and I was obliged to ride in the dandy about half way. Some difficulty occurred in getting my baggage off as the Coolies did not come. Left my boy to manage it, he came in about noon with two ponies, I shall not pay for them yet, and then they will come on with me. A warmer day than yesterday. Mountains rising up in front, which I shall begin to ascend to-morrow if I make the whole march of twenty miles. Snow visible above all. The real work of the trip will now soon commence. The marches hitherto have been child's play compared with those to come. Mansera is only a native village, but there is a Dâk Bungalow, in which I am now. Met Captain Ellis, of the 4th Hussars, returning from Kashmir, and had a talk with him. There are _two_ routes open to me, he advises the one which yesterday I was warned against by the other fellows. They have been over both roads, yet do not agree as to which is the best. Ellis was disappointed with Kashmir, but he has only been a few months in India, and has not yet forgotten England, for I expect that Kashmir after all, is only so very pleasant, by contrast with the plains of India.
JULY 9th.--Started an hour before sunrise and did the whole march to Ghuri, distance nineteen miles. Walked the greater part of the way in sandals and socks, which I find the most comfortable way of getting on. First half of the march along the level to the foot of the hill, then an undulating road through a pine forest, the latter half easy walking owing to the ground being covered with fallen fir leaves which made it as soft as a carpet. A fine view from the top of hill, looking down to Ghuri. The river Ghuri, a mountain torrent seen for a long distance rushing with a great roar over its rocky bed, bounded on each side by high hills, and above by mountains covered with snow, from the melting of which it arises. The water is consequently icy cold, and my tub at the end of the march was highly invigorating. Put up at the Dâk Bungalow, a neat, clean, furnished building, standing on the right bank of the river, which is crossed just in front by a very fair suspension bridge. I can trace my route for to-morrow, for several miles, and I look at it with dismay as it ascends a terribly steep hill. There are two other men in the Bungalow, but I do not know who they are. I have not mentioned my equipment. It is so simple that a few lines will tell all. Two suits of old clothes, three flannel shirts, two warm under flannels, two pair of boots, "a light pair and a heavy pair of ammunitions," socks, handkerchiefs, &c., Mackintosh, warm bedding, a small tent called a "shildaree," a two-rolled ridge tent, about eight feet square, a dressing bag containing toilet requisites, a metal basin, salted tongues and humps, potatoes, tea, sugar, flour, mustard, &c., one bottle of brandy, to be reserved for medicinal use, a portable charpoy or bedstead, cane stool, a little crockery, knives and forks, cooking utensils, brass drinking cup for every purpose, a gingham umbrella with white cover, a dandy (previously described), solar topee, and light cap, tobacco, soap, and candles, a kookery, a stout alpen stock, a pass into Kashmir, and bag of money, and "voilà tout." For carrying this baggage, I require two mules, and two Coolies, or when mules are not procurable, seven Coolies. Four other Coolies man my dandy, and these men are going all the way with me. Each Coolie receives four annas, or sixpence a day, and a mule costs eight annas. Stopped under a "pepel tree" and sent some Coolies up it for the fruit, which was ripe. This tree is the Indian fig, and the fruit is very small, not larger than marbles; and without much flavor. The river is running a few yards from me, with a sound as of the surf on a rocky beach. I hope ere long to hear the same pleasant music seated on the cliffs of the south coast of Guernsey. Now my time in India is drawing to a close, I begin to think that it has not been altogether wasted, though I would not prolong it a day. All I have seen and done within a period of three years (so much falls to the lot of few men to perform) must have had some effect upon my mind; at any rate, when safe at home again, I shall have much to talk of, many experiences to relate. My dog Silly who accompanies me, was awfully done up towards the end of the march. At last we came to a running stream in which he laid down and was much refreshed, before that his panting had become gasping though he kept up with us bravely, only lying down for a moment when we came to a little bit of shade--not often met with, the last three or four miles. For the last day or two, I have been almost continually in a cool, gentle perspiration, this is a great contrast to my state when at Peshawur, where my skin was always as dry as a bone, and I look upon that as a healthy symptom, I have had no headache since I left Bugnostan.
JULY 10th.--To Mozufferabad nine miles, but apparently much more, such a bad fatiguing march. I got away with the first grey of the dawn and after a mile's tramp began the ascent of the Doabbuller pass, three and a half miles long and very steep, so steep that I could often touch the ground with my hands without stooping much. This was terribly exhausting and I had to make many halts to recover my breath. Then began a rough descent along the side of a mountain torrent and afterwards over its bed, which is a narrow gorge between high hills. This walking was very rough and difficult; the path being covered with great stones and often undistinguishable. Indeed it was no path at all, only the ground occasionally a little trodden. Through the stream, backwards and forwards _innumerable_ times we went. I found that my feet, though naked except where covered by the straps of the sandals, were able to take care of themselves, and avoid contusion almost without the help of my eyes. Then I came to a large and rapid river called the Kishun-gunga crossed by a rope bridge. Let me describe the bridge. Three or four leather ropes about one inch in diameter tied into a bundle to walk upon, three feet above this, a couple of ropes, two feet apart, the upper ropes connected to the lower one at intervals of four or five yards by stakes. This formed a V shape, and you walk on the point of the V and hold on by the two sides. The breadth of the river is sixty yards, and the bridge which is high above the water forms a considerable curve. The description of the bridge is easy enough, but how shall I describe my feelings, when I had gone a few yards and found myself poised in mid-air like a spider on a web, oscillating, swaying backwards and forwards over a foaming and roaring torrent, the rush of the water if I looked at my feet, made me feel as if I was being violently carried in the opposite direction; the bridge swayed and jumped with the weight of half a dozen natives coming from the opposite side whom I had to pass, the whole thing seemed so weak and the danger so terrible that I turned giddy, lost my head, and cried out to be held. A firm hand at once grasped me behind and another in front. I shut my eyes and so proceeded a few yards. Then those dreadful men had to be passed. Imagine meeting a man on a rope fifty feet above a torrent and requiring him to "give you the wall." However they were passed by a mysterious interlacing of feet; and when half way over I regained confidence, and bid the men "chando" or release me, and so gained the opposite bank, where I sat down and roared with laughter at my "boy" who was then coming over, and who evidently was much more affected than I was. However he arrived safely with his black face _pale_, dripping with perspiration and saying he was sick. What was most amusing was to see him hooking his legs one in front of the other on his way over, but I dare say I was equally laughable to anyone on terra firma. He told me afterwards "water all go down, and I go up and get sick and giddy." Another two miles over a low ridge and I got to Mozufferabad and put up at the Barahduree provided by the Maharajah for the convenience of English travellers free of charge, for we are now in Kashmerian territory. This is an unfurnished bungalow built of mud and pine logs, and there is one at every stage. This saves the trouble of pitching a tent, and is of course much better in wet weather. I have not had a drop of rain though yet. Met Watson, of Fane's Horse, at the bungalow going back to Peshawur. Got Incis's Guide from him for the day, and made some notes at the other end of this book. There is a picturesque fort on this bank of the river commanding the bridge, built by the Pathans, apparently of bright red stone or brick. It was interesting to see mules and ponies swimming across the stream. Holding on by the tail of each was a man supported by two inflated Mussaks or goat skins which are ordinarily used by the Bheisties for carrying water. Though both man and horse struck out vigorously they were carried down many hundred yards before reaching the opposite side. To look at them in the foam and rush of the river, and see their impetuous career down the current, they appeared to be doomed to certain destruction. I saw about twenty cross in this way. I walked the whole of this march, though often tired, as I preferred trusting my own legs to being carried in the dandy over such bad ground. Curran, Assistant-Surgeon, 88th Connaught Rangers, is one march in front of me. He has left his pony here till he returns. I suppose the last march was too much for him. I am very glad I did not bring my horse with me; I was strongly advised to do so, but I am afraid advice has not much weight with me; in this instance anyhow, my own opinion has proved the best. All the men I meet coming back have horses with them, but they are nearly all shoeless, lame and sick, and have not been ridden for weeks.
JULY 11th.--Marched on Hultian, distant seventeen miles. Much better road than yesterday, but many ups and downs and short rough bits. Started two hours before sunrise, by the light of the moon. The road soon reached the right bank of the Jhelum and continued the whole distance alongside of that river. It is a rapid river apparently not so deep and often not so wide as the Kishun-gunga, its bed strewn with huge boulders over which the water breaks in great waves of foam. It runs in a narrow rocky channel the precipitous sides of which are a great height. How many ages must it have taken to cut this channel in the solid rock? The valley is bounded by high hills, very narrow, the road so bare of trees, that the latter half of the march became hot and wearying, so I had recourse to the dandy for four or five miles. But it was rare gymnastic exercise as swinging from my pole I had to dodge the great stones on either side of me and keep a sharp look out to avoid hard bumps. My dog was again very much fatigued. His tail is a good token of his state, for when fresh it is stiff along his back, and gradually drops as he goes along until he is quite exhausted, when it hangs straight down. Stopped at a Barahduree (not so good a one as the last) a few feet above the Jhelum in which I bathed. There is a rope bridge opposite, a much older one than the other I crossed, but not more than half as long, and not high above the water, some of the ropes are broken, and it seems very shaky. However, I must cross it to-morrow and get into the Murree road, which runs parallel to this one, on the other bank, and is on the shady side and much cooler. It has been very hot all day. The reason I could not come the direct road from Murree is because the ferry over the Jhelum lower down, was recently carried away and twenty-six natives drowned. Sir G. Larpent's (of the 88th) baggage was in the boat, and he lost it all. He had not crossed and had to go back to Murree minus everything including servants. There is excellent Mahseer fishing in this river, the fish attain the enormous size of 80lbs. weight and afford exciting sport; but I have no tackle with me, and did not even bring a gun, as I thought I should be too seedy to do anything but moon about. I did not then know the great exertion necessary to reach Kashmir, an exertion which any man with bodily infirmity would hardly venture on without first providing himself with an undertaker. Upon making enquiries I find that all the Coolies and supplies on the other road, have been sent over to this side, so I must keep to it and not cross as I intended. In the evening a slim young native came to me and offered to swim across the river for Bakhshish, "a present." I promised it to him, and he ran a quarter of a mile up, and plunged into the torrent, landing on the opposite side a little below the bungalow. He then went up the river again, and swam down to this side, no mean feat in turbulent water running as it did with tremendous velocity. I gave him eight annas for it.
JULY 12th, "Sunday."--In the middle of last night a storm came on, I was sleeping in the open air, and the lightning awoke me, it was beginning to rain, and I had to move into the house. It was broad daylight when I was called, and I felt disinclined to proceed. I said it would rain, and I would halt. My boy said, "No Sir, no rain." I said the sun would come out and it would be burning hot. He said, "No Sir, no sun." I felt it was useless continuing the argument, so I got up and marched to Kunda, eighteen miles, walking all the way. A hard march, nothing but steep rough ascents, and corresponding descents, still keeping along the river, but two or three hundred feet above it. My Coolies pointed out to me a herd of "chiken" on a very high hill, at least four miles away. I saw nothing, for even big trees at that distance were diminished to very small objects, but did not dispute with them. They say uncivilized man has wonderful sight, and if deer were there, he certainly has far higher powers of vision even, than I had been led to expect. Met three men leaving Kashmir, and exchanged remarks with them. Don't know who they were. Caught sight of my destination from the top of one hill, and was delighted to see it was quite close to me. But alas! several weary miles of up and down and in and out had to be traversed before it could be reached. This has several times happened to me, and I shall in future put no faith in appearances. The Barahduree here is a two storied one, standing I should think five hundred feet above the river, which is here confined in a very narrow channel. I took the upper room which has three sides and a roof, there being no wall facing the river, over which there is a fine and rather extended view, the more distant mountains being crowned with pine forests. Had neither sun nor rain while marching, but soon afterwards the sun shone out, though heavy and threatening clouds continued to hang about the horizon. As I write this I hear the first roll of thunder, there will be another storm to-night. The Maharajah's officials come to me at every stage to enquire my wants and provide for the same. Other natives also come with an insane request,--a medical prescription for a sick Bhai (or brother) who always has fever, and is at a great distance. What possible use a prescription could be to them I cannot decide. The storm came up just before dinner, 6 p.m., and was rather sharp but soon over. I came up the valley of the Jhelum, and I watched its course for some time before it arrived. It subsequently struck the edge of the house and I was all right; had it come down the valley which runs at right angles to the Jhelum just opposite here I should have been blown out. I again noticed that to which my attention has often been directed, viz.: that when in or near the storm clouds, the thunder is of quite a different character to that heard below. It is a continuous low muttering growl without any claps or peals. I have stood in the storm cloud at Sinchal, 9,000 feet high, with the lightning originating around me and affording the sublimest spectacle of dazzling brilliancy, and varying in colour from the purest white light to delicious rose and blue tints. I have seen it intensified and focussed as it were within a few feet of me, and from this centre angled lines and balls of fire like strings of beads radiated in all directions. Yet the thunder which in the plains was heard pealing and roaring its loudest, was up there barely audible.
JULY 13th.--From Kunda to Kuthin twelve miles of hard toiling over a similar road to that of the last march, finishing with a long, steep, and very rough ascent to the high plateau on which Kuthin stands. On the top of this I took to my dandy and was carried a mile along the level to the Barahduree, where I slept upon the charpoy which is provided at every bungalow for the weary travellers to rest upon pending the arrival of his baggage. These plateaus or table lands exist at intervals all the way up the valley, sometimes on one side sometimes on the other and occasionally on both the river in the middle. They are quite flat, very small, and highly productive, and vary from fifty to three or four hundred feet in height, above the river. The valley which widens where they exist, is narrowed again at either extremity. I can only account for their formation by supposing that at a former time, a chain of lakes existed, of which they are the beds, and that the water subsequently burst through and formed the channel of the present Jhelum, leaving these beds dry as we now see them. Came across a number of large tailed butterflies of a lovely green and blue metallic lustre. Secured an un-injured specimen, and for want of a better place stuck it inside my topee, where I expect to carry it safely until my return to Peshawur. Another storm came on earlier than yesterday. I have been very lucky hitherto, not having had a drop of rain while marching. This morning was cloudy till within a mile or two of Kuthin when the sun shone and made the last ascent doubly trying. This is a very small village (at Kunda there was only one hut) but there is a mud fort with bastions at each corner but no guns. The walls are loop-holed for musketry, but there does not seem to be any garrison. On making enquiries, I find there is a garrison of seven men. It is getting dusk and mosquitoes are coming out by hundreds, they have not annoyed me before, but I think I must use my net to-night. I lie on my bed after dinner smoking with a lighted candle by my side. A hornet flies in and settles on my hand, then a large beetle comes with a buzz and a thud against me, making me start. Sundry moths, small flies, and beetles, are playing innocently round the flame. In half an hour I shall be able to make a fair entomological collection but as I neither (Ha! I've killed the hornet) desire them in my hat dead, nor in my bed alive, I must put out the light, give up writing, and smoke in darkness.
JULY 14th.--To Shadera, twelve miles walked all the way. The road worse than ever, and for the last mile actually dangerous, as it passed along the edge of a deep precipice, and was only a foot wide and considerably out of the horizontal, so that a single false step would have been fatal. Road continued same character all the way along, though much above the tortuous and noisy Jhelum, and its ups and downs were the roughest, longest, and most trying, I have yet experienced. I am pleased to know that the remaining two marches will be, in the words of my Coolies over "uch'-cha rasta," a good road. It remained cloudy and threatening the greater part of the way, and a little rain fell, but eventually the sun shone, though great masses of "cumuli" continue to hang about. This is a small village completely shut in by three huge hills standing very close together. Between the sides of the two in front, the summit of a fourth is visible, a magnificent towering mountain, covered with a dense pine forest. I have not seen the snows since I crossed the Doobbullee pass, as we have been ascending the valley of the Jhelum ever since, and the view is confined by its lofty sides. I have eaten my last loaf for breakfast this morning, and now one of the greatest privations of the journey will begin. No bread, nothing but flour and water made into a kind of pancake, which the natives call "chepattie." I have not tasted fresh meat since I left Abbottabad, but that one can do very well without. I live upon fowls, eggs, milk, butter and rice, with a tongue or hump, cooked when necessary. Two or three miles from Kuthai, we passed a very pretty waterfall. The slender stream fell over a smooth perpendicular rock, of a rich brown colour, 100 feet high, like a thread of silver. Both sides of the gorge covered with a variety of beautifully green trees, shrubs and ferns, altogether constituting a delightful picture, the tints mingled so harmoniously, yet with strong contrasts. Stopped at the Barahduree as usual, this one surrounded with wild fig, plum, peach, pomegranate, and mulberry trees. The mulberries only ripe, and like all wild fruit, small and comparatively tasteless.
JULY 15th.--Started as soon as it was light for Gingle, fourteen miles distant. Road greatly improved, hilly of course, but tolerably smooth so that one could get on without clambering. About half way passed Dorie on the left bank of the river, where there is another fort and a strong rope bridge, it is one of the halts on the Murree road, farther on came to an old ruin, four thick walls perforated by arches enclosing an open square in the middle of two of the sides, large masses of masonry formed archways or entrances. It is built of the rough stones and boulders with which the surface of the ground is covered, yet the arches are of very good shape. On the opposite bank of the Jhelum there are forests of Deodar, but though they grow down to the waters edge, there is not one on this side. (Larix Deodora, called by the Hindoos, "the God Tree" is a stately pine, growing to a great height, and of a very gradual and elegant taper. Its foliage is of the darkest green colour, and it gives the mountains a very sombre appearance.) The hills have become much more rugged and abrupt. I know of no single condition which gives a scene so great an aspect of wildness and desolation, as dead fir trees. There they stand on the most barren and inaccessible places, rearing their gaunt and whitened forms erect as ever, and though lifeless yet not decayed. Seared and blasted by a thousand storms, they stand stern and silent, ghostlike and immoveable, scorning the elements. No wind murmurs pleasantly through their dead and shrunken branches, the howling tempest alone can make them speak, and then with wild straining shriek and harsh rattle, they do battle with the whirlwind. It was getting hot and I was thinking of my dandy, when a storm passed over with heavy rain. This was a mitigated evil (if an evil at all for my bed remained dry, and a wet bed is the worst result of a shower) as it rendered walking cool and pleasant. It cleared up again, and I rode the last half mile. The cleanest and best bungalow here I have been in since I left Ghuri. The view down the valley is extremely pretty, hills rising one above the other, but shut in on all other sides by high mountains. Gingle, which is only one or two huts, stands on a small plateau a quarter of a mile long by one hundred and fifty yards wide, fifty feet above the Jhelum. The ground is laid out in paddy fields irrigated by a stream of the coolest and purest water. It is a great satisfaction to be able to drink water freely without fear. In the plains of India the water is so contaminated as to be almost poisonous, and I do not think that previous to this march I had drank a gallon of it since I landed in Calcutta.
JULY 16th.--Left Gingle with the earliest streak of dawn for Baramula, an eighteen mile march. Road very much more level, never ascending high above the river whose erratic course we continued to follow. Passed through groves of hazel overrun by wild vines, but both grapes and nuts as yet green. The plateaus become gradually larger and almost continuous, and the hills separated and diminished in size, those on the right being covered with the lank deodar, while those on the left possessed only a bright green mantle of grass, far away in front they altogether ended, and the open sky above the valley was alone visible. And now an unusual occurrence presented itself. We were following the stream upwards towards its source, yet at every mile it increased in width and became more placid, till at length its surface was unbroken, and it assumed the form of a magnificent river, wider than the Thames at Richmond. The hills continued provokingly to overlap one another as though anxious to shut in and hide the happy valley from sight. But at length I discerned a far distant white cloud which I guessed betokened the summit of a mountain, and a few yards further revealed a faint glistening opaque line which the inexperienced eye would have certainly taken for a portion of the cloud, but which could not be mistaken by one who had before seen the snows. About half a mile from Buramula we obtain the first view of the Vale of Kashmir, but not an extensive one, as it is obstructed on either side by low hills. However, what is seen is very pretty. A large level plain traversed by a broad smooth river which has now lost its tortuous zig-zag course and bounded by the everlasting snows covering the main backbone of the Himalayas. At the head of the valley stands the quaint looking town of Baramula surrounded by hills on all sides but one, embowered in trees and intersected by the Jhelum, across which there is a good wooden bridge. The houses have mostly an upper story, and are built of wood with gabled roofs. The streets are narrow and roughly paved, and I regret to say are not more pleasant to the nostrils than are those of other Indian towns. The bridge built of deodar wood, beams of which are driven into the bed of the river, and then others laid horizontally upon them, each row at right angles to and projecting beyond the layer beneath, till a sufficient height has been reached, six of these and two stone piers form the buttresses of the bridge and a broad pathway of planks connects them. The march was a fatiguing one on account of its length, and I used the dandy freely. I shall however discard it altogether for the future. I went to the Barahduree but found it occupied by a man whose name I was told was "----," had been there five days. His Coolies had taken possession of all the rooms, and though I was very angry and inclined to turn them out, I thought my tent would be preferable to a room just vacated by the uncleanly native, so I went to an orchard close by, surrounded by a row of fine poplars, and patiently awaited the arrival of my baggage which was a long time coming. The gate was guarded by the Maharajah's sepoys who endeavoured to prevent my entrance. The Thikadar told me he had no authority for this, but had done it "Zubbur-dustee." They also say that the occupant of the Barahduree has just come from England. He is a being shrouded in mystery, and I shall endeavour to unravel it. My first step will be to report the occurrence to the officials at S---- when I get there. I took a swim in the Jhelum, whose course I have now followed for eighty-four crooked miles, and on whose bosom I shall to-morrow continue my journey.
JULY 17th.--By boat up the river, the day so bright, the view so glorious, the breeze so balmy and delicious, and the motion so gentle and pleasant, that lying on my bed I devote myself to lazy listlessness, to a perfect sense of the "dolce far niente" and can hardly prevail on myself to disturb my tranquillity by writing these few notes. The contrast to my thirteen heavy marches is so great that I am content to remain for the present without thought or action, enjoying absolute rest. Evening--We halt at Sopoor, and now let me endeavour to continue the diary. Got up at seven this morning and sent for a boat, one of the larger kind about thirty feet long, and six feet broad in the middle, the centre portion covered with an awning made of grass matting. The crew consisting of an entire family, from the elderly parents to quite young children--9 in all. I was towed up the still widening river by all of them in turns, one wee girl not three feet high being most energetic, though I should think of little real service. Boat flat bottomed, and alike at both ends, they use paddles instead of oars. But the scene! I am unable now to do justice to it, so I will only give the outlines to be elaborated hereafter. Splendid river--verdant plain covered with many varieties of trees, poplar and chenar or tulip tree the most conspicuous, extending as far as the eye can reach and enclosed by lofty snow capped mountains, on which rest the clouds of heaven. Bright blue King-fishers darting like flashes of light or hovering hawk-like before the plunge after fish and the many hued dragon flies upon the water weeds. Among the several varieties of the weeds, I noticed a great quantity of "Anacharis." Got fresh mutton and apple-pie for dinner. Swarms of very minute flies came to the candle dancing their dance of death. Many thousands were destroyed, and their bodies darkened the board which serves me for a table. Sopoor like Baramula, river bridged, and grass growing on the roofs of the houses.
JULY 18th.--In the night we moved on, and at five in the morning I was awoke at the foot of Shukuroodeen Hill, 700 feet high, which I intended to ascend, and get a _coup d'oeil_ of the valley. Instead of being on a river, the water now spread out into a great lake (Lake Wulloor) the largest in Kashmir. Got up and began to ascend the hill, but when half way up, the strap of one of my sandals gave way, and as I could not mend it, I was obliged to descend; however, I got an extensive view of the valley lying spread out at my feet, the lake occupying a great portion of the view. Went on to Alsoo (about three hours) from whence I shall march to Lalpore the other side of a range of high hills which rise very near the water. We are thirty miles from Baramula. The lake is in many parts covered with a carpet of elegant water weeds which makes it look like a green meadow, among them the Singara or water nut, a curiously growing plant which bears spiny pods enclosing a soft delicately flavoured kernel--heart-shaped, as big as a filbert. Mosquitoes by thousands, and very annoying, red and distended with their crimson feast. Alsoo--a rather uninteresting place, grand mountains. Huramuk to the East, and great expanse of water.
JULY 19th, Sunday.--On the march again to Lalpore, twelve miles. I left my heavy baggage and dandy in the boat (which here awaits my return) and only took my tent and bedding with one week's stores, the whole only four coolie loads, and now began my first taste of real mountain work. For nearly four hours I was ascending the steep range which rises above Alsoo, and hard toiling it was. Half way up we met some men with butter-milk, of which my boy made me drink a quantity, saying it would "keep master cool." As we rose--the vale spread out magnificently beneath us, and the large lake was seen to full advantage shining under the morning sun, which appeared from behind a grand snow-clad mountain. Near the top we came to the prettiest stream I have seen, its banks covered with maiden hair and other ferns, fruit trees and firs, and its surface skimmed by gorgeous flies. The summit gained, I was well rewarded by a view of the whole of the Solab an off-shoot of the main valley. A bright gem in a dark setting of deodar covered mountains, spurs from which radiated into the valley so fair and verdant with its many villages, its meandering streams, and frequent orchards, the air laden with the perfume of many flowers. My Bheisties even exclaimed "bahut ach chtu." I gazed entranced. The descent was long but a much better path. Going down I came to wild raspberries which I must say were as large and well flavoured as any garden grown ones, there was also a small yellow plum which was very nice. Arrived at Lalpore the principal village, I encamped under a large walnut tree (very fine trees and very common) covered with its nuts. This valley abounds with bears, I was certainly cooler after taking the butter-milk, but I attributed it to the ascent being less steep and the path shady. Saw a magnificent butterfly of a specimen I did not recognise; attempted to catch it, but like many other desirable objects in this world, it eluded my grasp at the very moment I thought I had secured it. Got a fine one of a commoner sort which I placed in my hat, where the other remains uninjured.
JULY 20th.--I halt at Salpore, awaiting the arrival of my Sirdar dandy coolie, an intelligent, useful, Kashmiree man, whom I engaged to continue with me as a servant at Baramula, and gave him four days leave to visit his home, arranging that he should rejoin me here. I lie under the shade of the wide spreading walnut trees, inhaling the fragrant breeze, and enjoying perfect quietude and repose. All is so grand and peaceful, that my heart swells with holy thoughts of praise and gratitude to the Almighty Creator, and while gazing on one of the fairest portions of his great work I find myself unconsciously repeating the glorious psalm "O come let us sing unto the Lord." It would indeed be a hard heart and a dull spirit that did not rejoice in the scene, and acknowledge the power and magnificence of its maker. I see around me this garden of Kashmir where every tree bears fruit for the use of man, and every shrub, bright flowers for his enjoyment. Enclosed and guarded by "the strength of the hills" (a noble sentence which never never before so forcibly impressed me) and covered by the purest of blue skies. All nature seems to say to me "To-day if ye hear his voice, harden not your hearts," and surely the "still small voice" is speaking, and can be heard by those who will heed it, and have the heart to feel and the soul to rejoice in the strength of their salvation. The memory of the beautiful duett in "Haydn's Creation," when newly made Adam and Eve unite in praising God and extolling his wonderful works comes freshly before me. Now, something akin to this must have crossed the mental vision of the grand old Maestro when he wrote; and its calm glorious music well accords with my present state of mind.
JULY 21st.--A pleasant stroll of ten miles before breakfast to Koomerial along the level valley, through shady groves of apple, pear, green-gage, peach, and mulberry trees, and forests of cherry trees drooping with the weight of their golden blushing fruit. I have not seen any vines in the Solab. Koomerial is a very small place, and I had a little difficulty in getting supplies. I ought to have gone three miles further to a large village; but I'll go there to-morrow, and then return to Alsoo in two marches. A native came to me with the toothache, begging assistance, but the tooth required extracting and I could do nothing for him. Pitched under a walnut tope--the climate delicious, like a warm English summer, but it is rather hot in my small tent in the middle of the day; so I have my Charpoy put outside in the shade and lie there smoking my pipe and thinking. I have spoken of the beauties and pleasures of the Solab, but I must not omit mention of its annoyances, flies and mosquitoes, by day the flies abound and cause much irritation to any exposed part of the body. I do hate tame flies, flies that though driven away twenty times elude capture, and will pertinaciously return to the same spot--say your nose--until one is driven nearly mad with vexation. At dusk the flies return to roost, and then myriads of mosquitoes emerge from their hiding places, and make night hideous with their monotonous hum and blood-thirsty propensities. I do not find chepatties so bad as I expected, indeed I rather like them, but then my boy makes them excellently well, using soda in their composition. The process of manufacture is not pleasant--the flour is made into a paste, and then flattened and consolidated by being thrown backwards and forwards from one hand to the other, though one may avoid seeing this, it is difficult to escape hearing the pit-pat of the soft dough as it passes rapidly between the Khitmutgars extended, and I fear not always clean fingers, it is then toasted, brought in hot, and you may eat it dirt and all. But travellers must not be too particular, and so long as your food is wholesome, eat and be thankful. But here comes my dinner, with the chepatties I have just seen prepared, and which sight suggested the foregoing lines. Chicken for breakfast, chicken for dinner, chicken yesterday, chicken to-morrow, _toujours_ chicken, sometimes curried, sometimes roasted, torn asunder and made into soup, stew or cutlets, or with extended wing forming the elegant spatchcock, it is still chicken; the greatest and rarest change being that it is occasionally rather tender. I have had chicken soup and roast fowl for dinner, the chicken in the soup as stringy as hemp, the fowl as tough as my sandal, and with so large a liver that I doubted whether the bird had not met with a violent death. I like fowl's liver, it is my one _bonne bouche_ during the day, but these startled me, and after straining my teeth on the carcase, I gladly swallow the soft mouthful. Oh! English readers, you who have never wandered far from your native shores and who esteem chickens a luxury to put on your supper table at your festive gatherings, come to India and surfeit on your dainties, you will see it calmly collecting its daily food unsuspicious of danger, then comes the rush and loud clacking as it flies pursued by the ferocious native, ending with cries of despair and the fluttering and hoarse gurgle of its death throes, in half an hour Murghi will be placed before you hot and tempting to the eye but hard as nails to the touch; they are cheap in this part of the world. I pay one anna (or three halfpence) for a chicken, or two annas for a full grown fowl.
JULY 22nd.--A little march of three miles to Koopwaddie. I am glad I came here for one or two reasons. In the first place the walk afforded me a nearer and finer view of the head of the valley, surmounted by its high and rugged snow peaks; and secondly, I find I can return from here to Sopoor in two marches instead of going back over the old road. From Sopoor I shall boat to Alsoo. The range which at Lalpore was on the further side of the valley has gradually approached the other hills until now they are only a quarter of a mile apart, and are connected by short low spurs which I crossed this morning. My road to-morrow will be behind the first mentioned range, where another portion of the valley lies. The valley is in fact fork-shaped, intersected by a mountainous ridge which runs from its lower end for about fifteen miles. The two portions then unite and form one valley up to the snows, and Koopwaddie is situated at their junction. The Solab proper is only the eastern arm which is formed into a _cul de sac_ by the mountains, and in which Lalpore stands.
JULY 23rd.--To Chargle ten miles down the western fork of a valley rough and uncultivated by comparison with the Solab. Over a low range of hills with a very steep descent to Chargle standing on the left bank of the Pohroo river. Not finding a good place on that side I forded the river, which is not more than two feet deep, and encamped on smooth green sward under a walnut tope on the other bank. Fine view from the top of the hill of the level valley through which the Pohroo runs, with the broad Jhelum shining like silver in the distance. This plain is laid out in open fields, and lacks trees except round the numerous villages. The surrounding hills too are comparatively bare, and their summits are to-day obscured by the low-lying clouds.
JULY 24th.--A hot and uncomfortable walk of twelve miles on the exposed and uninteresting road to Sopoor. There were but few trees to afford any shade, but there were mulberries bearing ripe fruit, under which you know it is impossible to sit down. From Sopoor to Alsoo (sixteen miles) by boat, slowly driving all day through the tangled weeds and water lilies. At Soopoor I waited for my boy to get what he wanted for my breakfast (which he would prepare on board) and while waiting, a procession of natives came with bells and flags, and something surrounded by curtains and carried under a canopy, but I could not see what it was. It was being fanned vigorously by several men and was no doubt very holy. A large number of men (Mahometans) followed, shouting loudly when the bells were rung, and some of them chanted a slow but not unpleasing melody. They were praying for rain which is rare in this country, and which is now required for the crops. My boy returned bringing with him to my joy a fore quarter of mutton. Stopped at Shukuroodeen for the evening, the wind being too strong to proceed. Those flat bottomed boats with their large heavy awnings are very cranky.
JULY 25th.--Started early for Alsoo. Found my old boat where I had left it, but brought my baggage on board of this one, which I mean to keep to, as the boatman is a much more useful fellow than the other man. He acts as a servant, knows all the places I am going to, including Ummernath, and has many excellent characters from those who have employed him. There was such a scene when my intentions were made known to the other crew, at first with tears and folded hands they supplicated, but when that proved useless they took to cursing and gesticulating, which they continued as their boat moved away and so long as they were within hearing, screaming across the water, making faces, and shaking their fists aloft; the old man was especially violent, it was very laughable. My present crew consists of the man I have mentioned, three good looking young woman, one of whom has the hooping cough, and a variety of children I have not yet made out the different relations to each other. There was lightning and some heavy rain last night (the result no doubt of yesterday's ceremony) and the sky is still gloomy and overcast. On from Alsoo after Chota Hazree or first breakfast to Lunka, a small island, which is only fifty yards square, is thickly covered with pine trees, with trailing grape vines clinging around their boughs, on it stands an old ruin, and fallen pillars and carved stones litter the ground. From a distance it looked very lovely, floating as it were on the bosom of the open waters, but as we neared it an unpleasant odour became perceptible, rapidly increasing to a horrid stench. This proceeded from a colony of natives who were in temporary habitation of the island, and were engaged in catching and drying the fish with which the lake abounds. I landed however, but was soon forced to beat a rapid retreat. Such a mass of all kinds of filth crowded in so small a space, I have never before witnessed. Man is ever the plague spot of the world, where he is not, all is peace, and beauty, with his presence comes contamination and discord. Saw many a whistling seal in one part of the lake. The water soon became contracted into a narrow channel, with a low bank on either side, after travelling a few miles more we reached the broad Jhelum above its entrance into the lake. Remained for the night at Hajun.
JULY 26th, Sunday.--Moved on in the morning to Manusbul, a small lake connected with the river by a canal. This lake is about three miles long and one mile wide, it is very deep in the middle, and said by the natives to be unfathomable. In one of the Hindoo Legends we are told a story of a holy man who spent all his life endeavouring to make a rope long enough to reach to the bottom, and failing, at length threw himself in and was never seen again. My boatman to give me an idea of its depth, dropped in white pebbles which could be seen for a long time sinking in the clear green water, until they gradually disappeared from sight. I longed to take a plunge into the cool fluid, and Ungoo evidently read my wish in my looks, for he proposed that I should gussul or bathe. The presence of three women however proved too much for my modesty, and I refrained, although I have no doubt that had I not done so their feelings would not have been in the least outraged. Very handsome water lilies (lotus) on the surface of the lake, the flowers being of a delicate pink colour with a yellow centre, and as large as the crown of a man's hat. At the further extremity, a high hill rises from the edge of the water. A stream is artificially conducted along its face at a height of about fifty feet, and the surplus water escapes in several pretty little cascades, by the side of one of them grow some noble chenars. The bottom of the lake around the edges is very uneven, and covered with a dense growth of mynophillum spicatum, on which planorbus and other molluces graze and tiny fry pick their invisible atoms of food. The elegant shape of this plant with its branching and finely cut leaves, and the inequalities of the ground remind me of the pine-clad hills in miniature. A brilliant king-fisher took the gunwale of the boat as the "base of his operations," and I amused myself all the morning, by watching him catch fish; when one approached the surface he descended with a splash which I imagined would have driven every fish far away, emerging quickly and very seldom without a capture, which he turned head downwards and swallowed alive and whole, then looked round with a laughable air of self-satisfaction. When the fish was a size too large to be trifled with, he first polished it off by rapping its head on the boards. It is now sunset, and that bird is still feeding, and probably the day will end without deciding whether his appetite or his capacity is the larger. A native brought me a dish of excellent apricots and mulberries--the mulberries especially good, and my garden is celebrated for the best peaches in Kashmir.
JULY 27th.--Up the Jhelum again, past Sumbul with its deodar bridge (similar to the others described with this exception, that the footway appears to be built in imitation of the roof of a house sloping on either side from a high central ridge, not the best form of bridge I have seen, but variety is charming) to the entrance of the Scind river, where a chenar stands in the middle of the stream, protected by a square block of masonry. Tradition says this tree never grows. Near it is a small island over grown with trees. Here we left the Jhelum and pursued the course of the Scind which soon contracted into a narrow and rapidly flowing river, its water derived from the snows, being very cold. It was slow work rowing against the strong current, but we presently emerged into a great lake entirely covered with high rushes except where a winding channel was cut for the boats, and here progression was slower still as the rope had to be abandoned, and the pole called into requisition, so that it was nearly dark when we reached Ganderbul. Passed a number of men wading in the water up to their necks, and spearing the ground with poles armed with a single barbed spike. Although this seems an insane way of attempting to catch fish, their boat was well laden with a small species of trout, and I saw several drawn from the water impaled and wriggling upon the sharp point. Sreenuggur seen in the distance at the extremity of a mountainous spur, with the Fort and Soloman's Throne, standing upon two elevated rocks. Within a few miles of Ganderbul the lake became clear, and presented a fine expanse of water, but with so many shallows, that our course was very tortuous. Having travelled twenty miles, we are now only five miles from Manusbul. Ganderbul stands at the opening of the Scind valley, but it was too late to take any observations when I arrived; so I must wait until my return.
JULY 28th.--A march of nine miles up the valley to Kungan, taking with me as before only four coolie loads of baggage; my boatman accompanies me. Met Scott, of the 88th, three or four miles from Ganderbul, the first European I have seen since the 12th. This is a narrow and beautiful valley, down which the Scind river rushes foaming and roaring. Its waters are icy cold and its colour also seems to partake of its snowy origin, for it is white, not only with foam, but the water itself in small quantities is as though it had come out of a milky jug. Grand hills stand on either side, and up the valley I occasionally got glimpses of high and rugged snow peaks. Several natives came to me with different ailments, I gave them rough directions whereby to benefit, but what they wanted was a gift of medicine (of which I have none.) They fancy every Englishman is an adept in the art of healing, and that English physic especially Tyrnhill's Pills, possesses magical powers.
JULY 29th.--To Toomoo, six miles, a shorter march than I intended, for they told me at Kungan that Toomoo was twelve miles distant. However, when I arrived, the temptation to stop was too strong to be resisted. In marching one gets very weary about the sixth or seventh mile, but this passes off, and you can then go on comfortably for almost any distance, provided you resist the first feelings of fatigue, and do not give way to it, as I have done to-day. The mountains are now huge towering masses, rising thousands of feet above the valley; they have lost all smoothness of outline, and their upper portions are bare and rough, cragged, and pine clad. Instead of having merely whitened peaks, snow fields extend down the sides. The scene is one of wild majestic grandeur. What tremendous agonies in past ages must have been employed to produce such vast upheavals. One cannot help contemplating with awe the possibility of the world again becoming violently rent and shaken to its foundations by the forces which though now comparatively inert, still exist beneath us and occasionally give sad proof of their undiminished power. In the present day the slow but continued action of this subterranean power is in some parts perceptible (as in South America) and we have no guarantee that it may not suddenly acquire increased energy, and overwhelm our fairest lands with a run too terrible to be imagined. Stinging nettles abound here, of the tall sort that grow so rankly on old earth heaps and in dry ditches. I placed my hand among them, delighted to be stung again by English friends; the sensation is so far preferable to mosquito bites. Besides it took me back to "childhood's happy hours," when with bramble torn breeches and urticarious shin, I forced the hedges, apple stealing--I have stolen apples to-day for a tart which is now baking--robbed the trees of them for they are no man's property. Just above here on the other side of the valley is a very perfect crater (of course extinct) for there are now no volcanoes in the Himalayas. Its lips are rugged and serrated like the teeth of a saw, and form a very perfect circle I cannot tell the depth of the basin, but on the further side I can see that the edge rises perpendicularly to a considerable height, and at the bottom of it I just got a glimpse of a steeply sloping floor. On its exterior are deep grooves containing strong blocks, which at this distance appear to show by contrast of colour their igneous origin, but I cannot speak positively on this point. My Bheistie to whom I gave three days leave to visit his family, came in saying he had walked one hundred miles. He does not look any the worse for it.
JULY 30th.--Another short march of five miles to Soorapra, a small village around which stand several enormous hills, half obscured by clouds, for it is a thoroughly wet day, drizzling rain having fallen ever since my arrival. It is very cool and pleasant, but I have got up too far and am now in the rainy region, so to-morrow I shall retrace my steps, three or four marches would take me over the Himalayas into Ladâk. This would be an interesting trip, but there still remains much for me to see in Kashmir, and I have not time to do both. Passed another, but smaller and less perfect crater. Some natives brought a young black bear, which they had just caught to show me. It was no larger than a good-sized dog, but had very long sharp claws; its expression was anything but ferocious. A dense pine and walnut forest extends down one of the hills to the verge of the village. I was strolling in that direction, not a hundred yards from the huts--before the arrival of my baggage--when two men ran after me and begged me to come back on account of the number of tigers there. I imagined they meant leopards, but on making enquiries I find cows are carried away, which could not be done by leopards. This would be a good ground for the sportsman, but no Europeans come here as it is off the regular track up the valley. I crossed the river this morning by a ricketty bridge built of a couple of firs, on which logs were loosely laid, leaving the main road which runs along the other or right bank. Just behind my tent a stream of deliciously cold and transparent water issues from the hill side; a rough sort of shed is erected over it, and the water is conducted a short distance in a wooden trough, from the end of which it falls to the ground. It is the custom in Kashmir to build over the springs and esteem them holy. No mosquitoes up here, delightful prospect of a good night's rest.
JULY 31st.--Back to Kungan in one march, but did not encamp on the same ground as before, as I found a better place by the side of the river. I have been thinking all the morning about my future career, whether I shall obtain the appointment in the Guards that I have applied for, (my application has by this time reached England) if not, what will they do with me when I get home, or shall I remain in the army? These questions have been running in my head and occasionally a more delicate one obtruded. Shall I marry, and if so, when and whom, and here, where all my thoughts are revealed, I must needs confess that now at twenty-nine years of age, I begin to weary of single blessedness, and long for a fair, loving, and loveable companion. Now my gentle lady reader, here is a chance for you, if you are content with honest love without adoration, faithfulness without romance; for my romantic days have passed. I have learnt the sober realities of life, and among them the truth of God's declaration that it is not good for man to be alone. The _Saturday Review_ in recent articles, "The Girl of the Period, &c.," holds out a poor prospect for the would be benedict, and I fear there is much truth in the assertion that the majority of our young women are husband hunting, that they make matrimony their one great object, and will condescend to any means whereby to attain the personal independance given them by that position, that these marriages without love, only prompted by selfish considerations, are followed by a total neglect of all wifely duties--nay more, that even maternal care and tenderness have nearly ceased to exist. It is a sad picture, and sternly drawn. The well-known power of the paper is put forth in its highest degree, and withering sarcasm, and bitter contempt accompany its stern reproofs. Yet there is a final wail of despair at the unlikelihood of any change for good being effected. This evil like most others is of our own making. We men no longer marry while young, but when middle-aged or with grey hairs beginning to show, a man desires a wife, he will most likely choose one five and twenty years his junior. The girl often marry thus because she cannot get a husband of her own age, and a very few years lost will doom her to perpetual spinsterhood. It is necessarily a marriage without love, a lucky one if there be respect. Girls have learnt that it is useless to bestow their affections where nature would have them, and and it is scarcely a matter for surprise that they should in consequence endeavour to repress them altogether. Moral for my own use. Marry while I am young, or not at all.
AUGUST 1st.--To Wangut nine miles rough and hilly walking. I lost the path once, and had a long scramble before I regained it. Though not a pleasant march the scenery is very fine and picturesque. Wangut lies up a short and contracted valley, an offshoot of the Scind which is a much larger one, and the mountains around it are very grand especially at the head of the valley, I put up large coveys of grey partridge on the road. I have come here for the purpose of visiting some mines two miles further on, and I intend to halt to-morrow and walk to see them. There is a great row going on while I write this, the natives appear unwilling to furnish supplies (milk, eggs, &c.,) and my boatman who has accompanied me is applying his stick freely by way of persuasion. There is of course a Babel of tongues and I sit within a few yards, quietly ignoring the proceeding, though if necessary, I shall get up and add some lusty whacks as my share of the argument. A mountain torrent--a tributary of the Scind runs down the valley with the usual noise and hurly burly. A travelling native carpenter is here, and all the village are bringing their ploughs to be mended, he is very clever with his hoe-shaped hatchet fashioning the hard walnut wood so correctly with it, that the chisel is hardly necessary for the few finishing touches. I have seen him make some wooden ladles very rapidly, and he has provided me with a new set of tent pegs and mallet and a wooden roller, by means of which I hope to avoid the digital process in the manufacture of my chepatties.
AUGUST 2nd, Sunday.--Sitting having my feet washed by a servant (delightful sensation) after my return from the ruin of Rajdainbul and Nagbul. I meditate on the mutability of all things human. I have taken a walk before breakfast this Sabbath morning to witness the overthrow of former magnificence and the destruction of man's crafty handiwork. These two temples erected many long years ago in honour of a Hindoo Deity named Naranay, now stand desolate piles in the dense jungle. Fallen stones cover the ground and great trees grow from the interstices of those that still hold together and retain a semblance of their original shape. Confusion reigns supreme and the place that was once the scene of mistaken worship, is now only the haunt of the wild beast and deadly reptile. The thoughts which such a sight suggest, have been the theme of many a moralist, but the great lesson it teaches cannot lose any of its importance by repetition. Yet a consideration of the littleness of man and the utter vanity of his proudest works is, I fear, distasteful to most of us; we cannot bear to be forced to admit our own insignificance. We go to church and cry "what is man that Thou art mindful of him," but the words are but empty sounds. Our preachers may tell us that life is but a shadow, but they speak to unwilling and heedless ears, and we go on ignoring the fact, crying peace, and stifling our conscience by a form of religion without godliness. We are arrogant, high-minded, puffed up in our own conceit, and though there are many that would wish to be considered holy, how few there are that are humble men of heart, and time continues to repeat the old, old story, filling our grave-yards, destroying our works; creation alone remaining stable, waiting for the end. These ruins are small in size, and their architecture rude, though the individual blocks are certainly large and well though not elaborately carved. But they produce a strange impression of awe by the dreary solitude and wildness of their position which is perhaps peculiar to themselves, although they lack both the fairy elegance of Netley Abbey, and the massive grandeur of a Pevensey Castle. The men who accompanied me advanced very cautiously through the thick underwood, beating with their sticks in order to drive away the Iguana Lizards, which they call the "bis cobra" and hold in deadly fear, believing its bite to be most surely fatal. This belief is universal among the natives of India, but there is no proof of its truth, and I need hardly say that the dental arrangement of Bactrachian reptiles is incompatible with the possession of poisonous qualities. But though science will not admit it, it is strange that the idea is so widely spread, especially as the natives do not fear any other species of lizard, while they believe that every snake is armed with the fatal fang.
AUGUST 3rd.--Heavy rain prevented my departure from Wangut, at the usual early hour, but about 9 o'clock it cleared up, and I marched on Arric eight miles distant down a path on the right bank of the river, (I ascended the valley on the other side.) The rain has made it very slippery, and it was a fatiguing walk the road not being good, and occasionally dangerous; one part fairly beat me, I was expected to pass round a smooth rock by means of several ledges one inch wide and four or five long, cut on its surface. The precipice below was deep, and when I had taken one step, and found myself hanging over it; I determined to go back and try another way. The other way is bad enough, but all I object to is having my safety depending upon a single foothold. I like to have at least one chance of recovering myself if I slip. My walnut tree to-day is covered with mistletoe and my mind is directed to Christmas time, and all its (to us) sad associations. Three Christmases have I spent away from England, and a fourth is now approaching, one of them on the ocean, and two in the tented field, the next will I fancy also find me under canvass, but I trust on my way homewards. Westward Ho! is my cry; let the gorgeous East with its money bags, its luxuries, and its many hours of idleness, remain for those who are content to exchange home-ties and the enjoyment of life for dreary exile and too often untimely death, who will sell their minds and bodies for the price of rupees.
AUGUST 4th.--Marched back to Ganderbul, nine miles. Ganderbul is a very small place, and the only object of interest I noticed, was a very old bridge built of rough stones, standing now upon dry land, for the Scind has left its former channel and runs one hundred yards to to the south of it, three of the arches remain entire and connected, and at least twelve others are either decayed or destroyed. This bridge is evidently of very ancient date. On emerging from the Scind valley, I got a better view of the vale than I have before had. It was a clear but cloudy morning--one of those grey days when rays abound, and photographic efforts are most successful--and every distant object was seen with great distinctness. The snowy Pin Punjaul range, in its southern boundary looked magnificent, rising abruptly from the level and beautiful plain. On board the boat again, I continued the journey towards Srenuggur. We had not been long afloat before a sudden squall came down from the hills and blew the roof of the boat off; it took a long time to repair the mischief, but fortunately all the matting was blown on to the bank, it was eventually replaced and we proceeded onwards in a tolerably direct line to the capital, ten miles distant. But near sunset the wind increased again, and compelled us to take refuge in a sheltered nook within a mile or two of Srenuggur, the fort standing above us on the summit of a hill--imposing from its apparently impregnable position--and there we remained all night.
AUGUST 5th.--Starting early, I soon arrived at the outskirts of the town, and the boat entered a canal with houses on both sides. There was some delay at a lock and great excitement in pushing over the fall caused by the rash of the water. Passed through the city which is a large one, and encamped under chenars on the banks of the canal on the other side. The Baboo-Mohu Chundee, an officer appointed by the Maharajah to attend to the many and varying wants of European visitors--called upon me and afterwards sent "russud" or a present from the Maharajah consisting of tea, sugar, flour, butter, rice, salt, spice, vegetables, a chicken, and a live sheep. Some cloth merchants also came and I was led into extravagance in purchasing some of their goods. In the afternoon I got a small boat, a miniature of the larger one, propelled by six men with paddles. They took me along very quickly, and I went down the canal which opens into the Jhelum--the main thoroughfare of Suenaggur opposite to the palace and the adjoining temple, whose dome is covered with plates of pure gold. It is a very strange sight, the broad river covered with boats, and lined by houses built in the curious Kashmirian style. Seven fine bridges cross it, and on two of them stand rows of shops like our Old London Bridge. I first went to the Post-office and got a satisfactory communication from our Paymaster, and also a letter from Bill, giving me the sad tidings of poor Tyrwhitt's death, which took place at Murree a fortnight after my departure. It is a selfish consideration, but I cannot help feeling grateful that he was prevented by an attack of ague from accompanying me, as he intended. I then went to Sumnad Sha's, the great shawl merchant, and turned some of the Paymaster's paper into silver currency. He showed me his stock, and I wished that I possessed the means of purchasing his goods. But even here a good shawl costs thirty or forty pounds, very magnificent they are, but I need not describe that which every English lady knows and longs for, if she has not it. Hewson, the Paymaster at Chinsurah, is encamped within one hundred yards of me. Passing in his boat he recognised me, and we went and had a swim and talked over old times at the Depôt.
AUGUST 6th.--Bought some tackle and went fishing, but the hooks were rotten and the fish broke several. I only succeeded in landing one trout of nearly two pounds weight. The spoon bait is a favourite one here. Bought a variety of stones and pebbles. Ladûk, Yarkund, Opals, Garnets, &c., for making brooches, bracelets, and studs. I was a long while making the selection and a long while bargaining, but I seem to have got them cheap; at all events for less money than Hewson has paid for his. This, and fishing, occupied the whole day--which was consequently an uneventful one. In the evening I borrowed writing materials from Hewson, and wrote a letter to Bell.
AUGUST 7th.--Went out spearing fish, but found it difficult in consequence of the allowance necessary for the refraction of the water and the movement of the fish. There is a great temptation to strike in an apparently direct line with the fish, which I need hardly say, even if the fish be stationary does not go near it. I only succeeded in piercing two. But I afterwards went out with a spoon and very soon landed a couple of trout of two and four pounds weight. I have found out who was at Baramula ---- travelling quietly like a private gentleman, still, notwithstanding the paucity of his retinue, the unmistakeable stamp of nobility about him made it plain that he was more than he appeared to be, obtaining for him the attention which he had wished to ignore. As a contrast to him we have here X----, Y----, and Z----, noticeable like many other Englishmen, when travelling in foreign countries for the prodigality of their expenditure, one of whom got a thrashing the other day from ----. Rather a disreputable affair for him, if all I hear be true. I dare say many a poor native wishes that a small portion of the money these three men waste was given to them instead.
AUGUST 8th.--I have done nothing to-day except go to Sumnad Shas for some more money, as I intend to leave Sreenugger to-morrow for the eastern part of Kashmir. There are two reasons for my idleness; in the first place Hewson gave me some books he had done with, and I got interested in James' "Heidelberg" and was reading it all this morning; and secondly, Hewson left this afternoon and sat a long time with me before his departure. To lengthen my notes for the day I ought to write a sermon, or secular discourse, (as I have done before) but I don't feel inclined to do so. This diary only gets my thoughts when they arise spontaneously and require no further labour than the mere putting of them into words. To-day my mind is a blank, and I am not going to search in hidden recesses for thoughts that may possibly be secreted there. Perhaps after dinner something may occur to me worth writing about.
AUGUST 9th, Sunday.--On again by the big boat up the Jhelum stopping at Pampur for two hours fishing under the bridge (the reputed haunt of large fish) but without success, so continued the journey gliding slowly along the beautiful river until dark, when the boat was run ashore and secured. So it has been an uneventful day with no new scenery to describe and no musings to record.
AUGUST 10th.--Another day passed on the river. From early dawn till dusk we continued towing against the stream, and then halted for the night at Kitheryteen (I spell the word from my boatman's pronunciation of it) a small village on the right bank.
AUGUST 11th.--Started again at daybreak but soon stopped at Bigbikara, where there is another bridge. All these bridges are alike and similar to the one described at Baramula, but this one is particularly pretty from the fact of large trees having grown from the lower part of every pier. These trees green and flourishing are high above the footway, between which and the water there is a distant vista of fine mountains. Fished here, but only hooked one, which I judged from its run to be large, and lost it. Above the bridge the river narrowed to about half its former width. We are approaching a very grand range of mountains which seems to be the boundary of the valley. Before mid-day we reached Kunbul and completed the trip of forty miles by water. At Kunbul is the first bridge over the Jhelum, the river here diminishes to a breadth of only thirty or forty yards, and soon breaks up into a number of small streams which mostly rise from the water, then along the foot of the hills.
AUGUST 12th.--Marched to Buroen, six miles, on arriving found the camping ground occupied by numerous "Fakirs" who had lately returned from Ummernath. These men are horrible looking objects, most of them being painted white and nearly naked. Ummernath is a mountain 1,600 feet high, and at the top of it is a cave sacred to the Hindoo Deity. In July pilgrims assemble there for a great religious festival, and these are some of them on their way back. I intended to visit this cave, but I have not time now, and I have thought that it may be a trifle too cold up there. At Burven is a very holy spring. Two tanks are formed where the water escapes from the ground, and these tanks swarm with tame fish, some of them of large size. It was a great sight feeding them. They all rushed to the place struggling and fighting for the food. The bright green water was black with them, and a space yards wide and long, and several feet thick, was occupied by a block of fish packed as closely as if they were pickled herrings. These fish are also very sacred, and to catch them is prohibited. Soon after leaving Kunbul I passed through Islamabad, a large town of which I may have more to say hereafter. There are two other men encamped here with me, but they don't seem very sociable, and I don't care much for the society of strangers; we have exchanged "good mornings" and that is all, and now sit staring at each other at a distance of twenty yards. How different it would have been if we were Frenchmen instead of cold-blooded Englishmen. After dark the fakirs had a "tomasha." Singing, bell ringing, tambourine-beating, and the blowing of discordant horns all at the same time, constituted a delightful music--to them at least--and was continued for hours, interrupted by shouting and yelling, and with this din going on I now hope to sleep.
AUGUST 13th.--Marched back to Islamabad, seven miles, by another road, as I first visited the ruins of Martund, a temple built (so the legend goes) ages ago by "gin men" or demons of gigantic stature. These are really grand ruins, whether position, site, or architecture be considered. They stand on an open plain, on the summit of a ridge, from which is a fine view of the surrounding mountains, which are much higher than in the western part of Kashmir. In the centre is a large block, containing several rooms, the huge stones of which it is built being elaborately carved. There are many niches containing figures, but the defacing hand of time has sadly marred them. On two sides of this building and only a few feet distant from it rise a couple of wings, and the whole is enclosed by a stone screen, perforated by trefoil arches, and having on its inner side a row of fluted columns. In the middle of the south side of the screens is the main entrance, the pillars of which are very tall. Vigne, classes these ruins among the finest in the world, and perhaps he is right. At Islamabad there are several bungalows provided for visitors, and I went into one of them, having first cleared it of the "fakirs"--who are here too. These bungalows stand by tanks in which are tame fish, as at Burven. A spring issues from the hill side, just above them. Two men of the 7th Hussars, Walker and Verschoyle, occupied another, and I breakfasted with them. Adjoining the tanks is a small pleasure garden, with some buildings which are inhabited by the Maharajah when he visits Islamabad. The place reminds me more of a tea garden in the New Road, than the resort of Royalty. The water from the tanks escapes under the front bungalow forming a pretty cascade. Dined and passed the evening with the other fellows.
AUGUST 14th.--To Atchebul, six miles. This is a charming spot. It is a pavilion and garden built--if my memory serves me--by the Emperor Shah Jehan, for his wife; at its upper end rises a hill covered with small deodars and other trees, and from the foot of this hill four springs gush forth from crevices in the rock. The volume of water is very large, and it is conveyed into three tanks at different levels. These tanks are connected by broad canals lined with stone, and at the extremity of each canal is a fine waterfall. There are also two lateral canals which run through the whole length of the gardens, from the boundary of which the water escapes in three cascades, the centre one from the tanks being the largest. In the middle tank are twenty-five fountains, which were turned on for my benefit; only seventeen of them play, and the best jets are not more than six feet high. In the centre of this tank stands a pavilion which I now inhabit. Its walls are of wooden trellis work, and the ceiling is divided into panels on which are painted in many colours the everlasting shawl pattern; it looks as though the floor-cloth had been placed on the ceiling by mistake. Along the foot of the hill is a ruined terrace built of bricks, with arches and alcoves crumbling to pieces. There is also an arch over the canal, between the second and third tanks. The whole garden was originally laid out in several terraces faced with masonry, and having wide flights of stone steps from one to the other; but all is now much decayed, and the garden itself is quite uncultivated, except a small portion, and is but a wilderness of fruit trees and fine chenars. On the left of it is the old Human or bath, a series of domed and arched rooms containing baths and marble seats. The interior is in a fair state of preservation, and the various pipes which conveyed the water to it still exist. The whole ground is enclosed by a wall, and if it was properly looked after, might be converted into a very pleasant retreat. In the afternoon Walker and Verschoyle, rode over from Islamabad and sat some time with me, after a few hours five other pipes began to squirt--rendered patulous I suppose by the pressure of the water--so that three only now remain occluded. I had a great loss last night; the dogs broke open the basket containing my provisions, and carried away half a large sized cake, and a hump of beef that had been cooked but was uncut.
AUGUST 15th.--Marched to Nowboog, fifteen miles, this long march was quite unexpected as Ince in his book puts it down eight miles. It was up hill nearly all the way--this combined with the sun's heat--for I did not start so early as I would have done if I had known the distance--and the vexation of having to go on, long after I considered the march ought to have been finished, made it very fatiguing. Nowboog is situated in a small and pretty valley separated by hills from the rest of Kashmir. I intend to halt here to-morrow, so will reserve further description until I feel fresh again. It was one or two o'clock before I arrived, and I have worn a hole in my left heel which will, I fear, render the next marches painful. Umjoo--the boatman--is now shampooing my legs and feet. This process consists of violent squeezes and pinches which make me inclined to cry out, but I am bearing it bravely without flinching and endeavouring to look happy, and to persuade myself that it is pleasant--now my toes are being pulled with a strength fit to tear them off. Oh! ----. There's a cry on paper. He does not hear that, and it is some sort of relief.
AUGUST 16th, Sunday.--The valley of Nowboog is small but very picturesque. The surrounding hills are comparatively low, and are covered with pasture on the open places, while the deodar and many other trees occupy the ravines and gullies. The large amount of grass and the grouping of the trees give it a park-like appearance, and the gentle slopes of the verdant mountains remove all wildness from the scene. It is a pleasant spot to halt at. A little nook which while it charms the eye, only suggests peaceful laziness. My coolies sit at a short distance, singing through their noses Kashmirian songs. There is much more melody in their music than in that of their brethren of Hindoostan. Indeed some of the tunes admit of being written, and I have copied a few of the more rythmical, as they sang them. The principal objection to them is that they are rather too short to bear repetition for half an hour as is the custom, there is another music going on--a music that cannot be written and will be difficult to describe--I mean the song of the "Cicada Stridulantia" in walnut trees above me. This insect--the balm cricket--is in appearance a burlesque, just such a house fly as you might imagine would be introduced in a pantomime; and its cry is as loud and incessant as it is peculiar. To describe it, fancy to begin with a number of strange chirps, and that every few seconds, one of those cogged wheels and spring toys that you buy at fairs to delude people into the belief that their coats are being torn--is passed rapidly down the back, with occasionally momentary interruption in the middle of its course, while between each scratch you hear a mew of a distant cat--another cat purring loudly all the time, and any number of grasshoppers chirping to conclude with a running down of the most impetuous and noisy alarum, and then silence--a silence almost painful by contrast--until it begins again. Such is the song of the Cicada in the Himalayan forests. I wonder every Sunday if they miss me at Peshawur; for I was organist to the church before I left, and I doubt if there is anybody to take my place. I wish I had the instrument here now to peal forth to the hills and the wondering Kashmirians Handel's sublime "Hallelujah Chorus" or "The Marvellous Works" of Haydn. What can be more inspiring than the grand old church music we possess, bequeathed to us by composers of immortal memory. Though much opposed to the present Ritualistic tendencies I do delight in a musical service. It seems to elevate the mind and give a greater depth to our devotion. Go into any of our cathedrals and hear the solemn tones of the Liturgy echoing through the vaulted roof, and your heart must needs join in the supplication, "And when the glorious burst of music calls to praise and rejoicing, will not your own soul fly heavenward with the sound and find unaccustomed fervency in its thanksgivings." There is perhaps one thing necessary, and that is, that you should know the music you hear, otherwise the first admiration of its beauty may eclipse all other considerations. But if you have studied it, if it is as familiar to you as it ought to be, and is intimately connected in your mind with the words to which it is set, you will understand its spirit, and see that however beautiful it may be it is only the means whereby higher thoughts and nobler feelings are sought to be expressed. I bought here a very fine pair of Antlers of the "Bara sing"--a large deer found on these hills.
AUGUST 17th.--To Kookur Nag, twelve miles. I am now convinced I came the wrong road from Atchibul to Nowboog, as I had to march back over a great portion of it this morning; however, with the exception of a mile or two, it was all down hill, and as I knew when I started that I had twelve miles to go, I was not tired. Stopped at the village on the way where there are iron works, and saw them smelting the ore which is obtained from the neighbouring mountains, this ore is a yellow powder, and appears to be almost pure oxide. Their method of working is very rude; a small furnace, such as a blacksmith uses at home, supplied with a pair of leather bellows constitutes the whole of the foundry, and is of course, only capable of smelting a very small quantity of ore at a time. Kookur Nag is the name of some springs about two miles from the village I have encamped at, and I walked over this afternoon to see them. It was scarcely worth the trouble. There are a great number of them close together and they issue from the ground, as usual, at the foot of a prettily wooded hill. The water is very pure and cold, and of sufficient quantity to form immediately a large and rapid stream. This place lies near the mouth of a wide gorge or valley which leads right up to the snows, and down which there must have been at one time, either a mighty rush of water or a vast glacier, as the ground is thickly strewn with huge boulders. The stratification of one mountain against which it is evident the flood impinged--is very clearly and beautifully shown.
AUGUST 18th.--To Vernag, ten miles, crossing a range of hills, the descent being the steepest I have experienced. From the top of the range there was a fine view of the two valleys of Kookur Nag and Vernag. They are very similar and down the middle of each is a layer of loose rounded stones. The springs of Vernag occupy the same position in the valley as those of Kookur Nag do in the other, but around them is a good sized village, and their point of exit has been converted into a large and very deep octagonal tank, which is perfectly crowded with sacred fish. Surrounding the tank is a series of arches, and on the side from which the stream escapes is a bungalow for the use of visitors. Six days ago a Hindoo was drowned here, and his body has not been recovered--so deep is the water, it is probable that ere this the fish have removed all but his bones, one hundred yards below the tank is another spring, which is the finest I believe in Kashmir. It comes straight up on level ground, and forms a mound of water eighteen inches high, and more than a foot in diameter. The morning cloudy and very gloomy on account of the eclipse of the sun of which I saw nothing. This is my birthday and my thoughts have been running over my past life and speculating upon the future before me. "But fear not dear reader!" I will not bore you with all my musings over those twenty-nine unfruitful, if not absolutely mis-spent evil years, or show you how my "talent" lies carefully folded up and hidden away, in order that I may have it to return to its "owner". "Oh! fool, fool that I am." Knowing better things and with a half a lifetime gone, "I find myself still plodding along the old road paved with good intentions." The springs of grace indeed surround me, but I am in the shallows and the water is muddy. The very "Tree of Life" is by my side, but it is a dwarfed and stunted shrub, whose shoots wither before they put forth leaves. When will this change? Will my resolutions ever become deeds? "Will grace abound: or will faith ever give such impetus to my "Tree of Life," that it may grow up into heaven?" I put to myself the question that was asked Ezekiel. "Can these dry bones live," and have no other answer than his to make. These are some of my birthday thoughts. Pray, forgive, excuse me if I have wearied you.
AUGUST 19th.--Back to Atchibul, twelve miles, the road for the most part level, but there was one mile of very hard work, over the ridge I crossed yesterday. I approached Atchibul from the hill I mentioned as standing at the head of the garden, and from the top of it a very pretty view of the place is obtained. I found the pavilion unoccupied, and again took possession of it, set the fountains playing, and imagined myself the Great Mogul. Just out of Vernag, I caught a small black and yellow bird, which my boatman calls a "bulbul" (though I think he is wrong in the name) and says it sings very well. I have had a cage made for it, and it is now feeding at my side, and is apparently very happy. I'll try and take it to England. I believe it is only one of the shrike family, but it is too young to identify at present. However, it is my fancy to keep it, so why should I not. The old gardener here is very attentive, constantly bringing me fruit. Shall I do him injustice, by saying that he probably has expectation of a reward? I think not indeed, is it not the same expectation or its allied motive, the desire to escape punishment, which prompts the actions of all of us? We do good, I fear, more for the sake of the promised recompense, than for any love of the thing itself. Light rain has fallen all day.
AUGUST 20th.--I halt at Atchibul. I have now completed my wanderings in Kashmir, and have seen all I intended except one portion, which I shall visit on my road home. My next move will be to ----, but as I do not care to spend more than seven or eight days there, I am in no hurry to get back. My bird died in the night, and by its death has put an end to a rather violent controversy between my Bheistie and boatman. The boatman stoutly maintained his opinion of its value and the Bheistie with a more correct appreciation, and while explaining to me that it was a jungle bird and would never sing, appeared to look upon my conduct with a mixture of compassion and disgust, and then they quarrelled over it. Was my fancy a foolish one? Some men will spend years in the pursuit and classification of butterflies, while others go into ecstasy over a farthing of the reign of Queen Anne. My common jungle bird was a pretty one, and if I had got it home and put it in a gilt cage, it would surely have possessed some value for its antecedents, even if it had proved as mute as a fish, or as discordant as a Hindoo festival.
AUGUST 21st.--Marched back to Kunbul, seven miles, and took up my quarters again on board the boat, fifteen or twenty other boats are here, a good many visitors having recently arrived in this part of Kashmir. I remained at Kunbul all day waiting for the completion of a pair of chuplus which I ordered of a shoemaker ten days ago. I have occupied the time by reading Marryat's "Newton Forster" (one of Hewson's gifts) and I find that when I read I can't write, so that must be my excuse for the shortness of my notes. My head is full of ships, sea fights, and love making to the exclusion of everything else. I heard you--you said it was a good job, as it prevented me writing more nonsense.
AUGUST 22nd.--Slowly drifting all day down the stream towards Sreenuggur. Past Bijbehara with its fine bridge, stopping there a short time to procure milk and eggs for breakfast. Past Awuntipoor--the former capital--but now only a very small village, where stands on the rivers bank the ruins of two ancient Hindoo temples, square blocks, built indeed of enormous stones, but without sufficient architectural embellishment to require a closer inspection than I obtained from the boat. Another of those charming lazy days on the water, nothing to think about, but the time for meals, nothing to do, but to eat them when prepared. The eastern part of Kashmir is covered with high isolated mounds called Kuraywahs, composed of Alluvium, presenting perfectly flat summits and precipitous sides. The top of these was doubtless the original bed of the lake at the time when the whole valley was submerged, and the present channels between them (though now dry land) were cut by the rush of the water, when the Jhelum burst through the opening at Baramula and drained the valley. This rush then is shown to have been impetuous (and the high banks of the river also bear evidence to it) but it seems to me that the mere breaking through of the stream sixty or seventy miles away is not enough to account for it. No doubt that occurrence was attended, I may say produced by violent subterranean phenomena; and I imagine that this portion of the vale--which is much higher than the western half--then underwent a sudden upheaval, the result of which if only a few feet would be to throw its waters with terrific force into the lower portion and afford an easy explanation of the formation of both the Kuraqwahs and the Jhelum. I noticed in my course up the Jhelum, that it appeared to have originally consisted of a chain of small lakes, this would be the the natural effect of such a cause as I have supposed. The bulk of water, at first, would only have been sufficient to produce a few of them, perhaps only the large one between Gingle and Baramula. But as its quantity and measure continually increased by the flow from the higher level so would lake after lake have been formed among the crowded hills until the plains were reached. Then the drainage of these small lakes would follow as a matter of course, and the channel of the river be reduced to a size proportionate to its constant supply. Dear reader, you are very difficult to please. My descriptions you call slow, my imaginings frivolous, science dry. Jokes are feeble and personalities tedious morality is stale, religion is cant. What, how can I write? You have had a taste of all and if you are not content the fault is--well, let me be on the safe side--either yours or mine.
AUGUST 23rd, Sunday.--We continued to progress last night by moonlight long after the sun had set, and started again very early this morning, so that the Tukh-t-i-Suliman (Soloman's Throne) and Fort are now visible, and I expect to reach Sreenuggur before noon. It is faster work floating down the current than towing against it. At Sreenuggur I found several letters waiting for me, and amongst them a large "Official," which I tore open with eager haste; thinking it might be a reply to my application to be sent home. It was ----. Well, you will never guess--an urgent enquiry as to what language I could speak and write fluently beside English. I have answered this question some half dozen times since I have been in the service, but they never get tired of asking it. The date of my arrival in India is another favourite and constantly recurring enquiry, and this might lead me to give you a dissertation upon the theory and practice of Red-tapeism, with a special consideration of the amount of stationery thereby wasted, and its probable cost to the Government. It would perhaps, be very interesting to you, but to any one who is at all connected with it, the subject is only one of weariness and disgust--weariness at the unproductive labour entailed--disgust at the utter folly of the proceedings. So I pass it by, leaving some one who is willing to sacrifice his feelings, or more probably some one who knows nothing whatever about it to furnish the much needed exposé; it is customary to cry it down but it is an acknowledged evil, the custom has never been fully and fairly explained to outsiders or it must have given way before the burst of public indignation which such an explanation would have created. I have again encamped in the Chinar Bugh, but not quite in the old position as a better place was unoccupied. Indeed I had my pick of the whole, for there is now nobody here but myself. I received news (in my letters) that a field force had left Pindee to operate against some of the hill tribes between Peshawur and Abbottabad--ruffians who are always giving trouble, and who occasioned the inglorious Umbeylla campaign a few years ago. I informed my "boy" that there was going to be some hard fighting, and his reply was "With our troops, Sir?" Our troops! good heavens! a black man speaking to me of "our troops." It is customary I know to call these Asiatics our fellow subjects, but I never before had the fact so forcibly brought before me.
AUGUST 24th.--I got up early this morning and have spent half the day on the "Dul" or "City Lake"--a large sheet of water which lies at the foot of the hill behind Sreenuggur. Besides the excessive beauty of the lake itself there are many objects of interest to be seen on its banks. I visited in succession the Mussul Bagh, Rupa Lank or Silver Isle, Shaliman Bagh, Suetoo Causeway, Nishat Bagh, Souee Lank or Golden Isle, and floating gardens. A word or two of description for each. The Mussul Bagh is a large grove of fine chenars planted in lines so as to form avenues at right angles to each other. There must be several hundred of these noble trees upon the ground, I do not mean fallen but erect and vigorous. The Shaliman Bagh is an extensive and well cultivated pleasure garden with pavilions, tanks, canals and fountains, in true oriental style. The upper pavilion is especially worthy of notice having a verandah built of magnificent black marble veined with quartz containing gold. It is surrounded by a large tank possessing one hundred and fifty-nine fountains, and its exterior is grandly if not artistically painted. The Nishat Bagh is smaller but scarcely less attractive. It is arranged in a series of fifteen terraces, from which a splendid view is obtained of the lake and adjacent country. Down its centre runs a canal, expanding at intervals into tanks and having a waterfall for each terrace, with a single straight row of fountains numbering more than one hundred and sixty. Grand hills rise immediately above it. It contains pavilions of fruit trees, and as a flower garden, is superior to the Shaliman Bagh. The Suetoo Causeway, is a series of old bridges and embankments which formerly crossed the lake, and was two or three miles long, but only portions of it now remain. The two islands are small and covered with trees, having no interest of themselves, but adding greatly to the appearance of the lake. They are I believe artificially constructed. The celebrated floating gardens are very curious; they were formed by dividing the stalks of the water weeds near their roots, and sprinkling the surface of them with earth, which sinking a little way was entangled in the fibres and retained; Fresh soil was then added, until the whole was consolidated, and capable of bearing a considerable weight. The ground is now about nine inches thick, floating upon the surface of the water, and the stalks of the weeds below it having disappeared. It is exceedingly porous and is used for the cultivation of water melons, when walking upon it a peculiar elasticity is perceived, accompanied with a tremulous or jelly like motion. It is divided into long stripes pierced by a stake at each end, which secures them in their position and allows of their rising or falling with the height of the water. An unlucky day for Silly. In the first place he was _sea-sick_. The use of the broad paddle in a small boat caused a good deal of shaking, and every stroke is attended with a sharp jerk forwards--secondly, he mistook a collection of weeds for dry land and jumped out into the water. This puzzled him immensely, and after he was recovered he sat for a long time gazing with a bewildered air upon the surface of the lake. Paid a visit in the afternoon to Sumnud Shah for the purpose of replenishing my exchequer, but found his shop better calculated to exhaust it. I'll not go there again.
AUGUST 25th.--Lying down inside my tent I just now heard two crows chuckling and laughing in their way and saying to one another "here's a joke" or caws to that effect. You need not laugh at this statement or think that my mind has suddenly become deranged, I merely state a fact. The language of animals--dumb creatures as fools call them--is far more expressive than you imagine, and if you had spent the same time and the same attention that I have in listening to birds notes, you would be able to understand much of their meaning. Here a conversation carried on in a foreign tongue, one to which you a perfect stranger, will you be able to distinguish words? No! you will only hear a confusion of sounds possessing apparently but little variety. But as you become accustomed to it the words and syllables will start out into clear relief; so with birds songs--at first they will appear to you to be always the same, but they have really different tones and meanings, which you may learn to appreciate by studying them in connection with their acts. However I heard the crows say "here's a joke" and guessing I was to be the victim of it, I immediately jumped up and rushed out. They flew away loudly exulting and I found my match box,--which I had left on the table broken to pieces and the matches carefully distributed so as to cover as large a space of ground as possible; there is a crow's joke for you--there is not much in it as a joke,--but I introduce it principally to show that birds talk and that I (clever I) can understand them. I wrote the foregoing to eke out my notes for the day, not having anything particular to record. When the Baboo called upon me with the startling intelligence, all officers from the Peshawur division ordered immediately to rejoin their respective regiments; this has taken away the greater number of the visitors and very few are now left in Kashmir. Why don't I pack up and start? Well, I forgot to mention a short sentence in the order "except those on medical certificate" which saves me the trouble and annoyance of hurrying back before the expiration of my leave. It is on account, I suppose, of the little war we have entered on with those hill tribes, and I may be missing honour and glory, wounds and death, neither of which I care to earn from barbarians on the black mountains. I am sorry for the affair as I fear that from the inaccessibility of the country the best result will barely escape disaster. This is a strange day. You see me, one moment trifling with my thoughts for the sake of occupation and then having matters and subjects for the deepest consideration suddenly thrust upon me. Ought I to rejoin? I am indeed protected from the necessity of doing so, but my health is now fully established and such being the case, is it my duty to waive my right and return to my regiment. I think not, for the reason it is not likely that they will weaken the garrison at Peshawur by sending any of its troops into the field. Its strength is maintained for the purpose of defence against the Cabulese and other powerful Pathan tribes immediately surrounding it, who are deadly enemies, and would be eager to avail themselves of any opportunity for offence. Therefore I imagine that my regiment will remain in quarter, and do just as well without me as with me; and therefore have I determined to adhere to my original plans.
AUGUST 26th.--There was a great fire in the town last night; three hundred houses have been destroyed. I went early to the scene of the disaster, which is on the left bank of the river adjoining the first bridge. The embers were still smouldering, and among the ruins the heat was intense, owing to the houses having been built almost entirely of wood, little but ashes and charred logs remained of them. Here and there a few hot bricks retained the semblance of a wall, but the destruction has been as complete as it is excessive. The bridge has also suffered, the bank pier having been attacked by the flames, and half the railing on either side of the foot-way has been torn off and precipitated into the water. The latter injury was caused I imagine, by the rush of the crowd over it at the time of the fire. No lives lost I believe.
AUGUST 27th.--At six o'clock this morning a Jemindar or military officer made his appearance, sent by the Baboo, for the purpose of conducting me over the fort. A row of a mile down the river, and half a mile walk through the narrow rough crowded and stinking streets of the town brought us to the outworks, at the foot of the hill on which it is built. This hill is very steep and several hundred feet high, (I do not know the exact height, but I think it is between six and seven hundred feet) and the climb up it was fatiguing. From the top there is an extensive view, but the morning was misty and the greater part of the valley indiscernible. In front lies the town, intersected by the Jhelum; a great desert of mud-covered roofs presenting anything but the green carpet-like appearance described in books. On the left long lines of poplars, enclosing the Moonshi Bagh and the various encamping grounds, with the Tukh-t-i-Suliman rising high above them. Behind, the Dul, spread out like a sheet of silver with the back ground of mountains, and many canals radiating and glistening in the sun-light. Of the fort I have but little to say. From below, its position renders it imposing, but a nearer inspection dispels the illusion. Inside it there is a Hindoo temple, two or three tanks filled with green, slimy water, and some wretched hovels for the occupation of the garrison. The ramparts though high are weak and a few shells dropped within them would blow the whole place to pieces. The ordnance consists of four ancient brass guns; two of them about 9-pounders and the others 32-pounders, but I did not see a spot from which either of them could be safely fired; and even if there were bastions strong enough, I doubt if cannon could be depressed sufficiently to sweep the precipitous sides of the hill. On my way back to the boat, I turned aside to visit the Jumma Musjid, or chief Mosque, a large quadrangular wooden building, the roof of which is supported by deodar columns of great height, each pillar being cut out of a single tree, but I cannot waste more time over it, the name recalls to my memory the magnificent Jumma Musjid of Delhi--but comparisons are odious. When parting with my attendant I felt uncertain whether or no he would be offended by the offer of a remuneration for his trouble, so I left him to ask for it, as natives usually do not scruple to request "bucksheesh" for the most trifling service, but either his orders or his dignity prevented him from soliciting it, and he went away unrewarded and I doubt not dissatisfied. After noon I went and selected a lot of papier maché articles, and gave monograms to be painted upon them. Their papier maché is fairly made, elaborately painted and moderate in price. At this shop they prepared some ladâk tea for me, a most delicious beverage possessing a delicate flavour such as I have never before tasted in any tea. It was sweetened with a sort of sweet-meat in lieu of plain sugar.
AUGUST 28th.--A blank day, I have done nothing but fish and only caught one of moderate size. Early in the morning there was a storm attended with high wind and heavy rain; it cleared up before sun-rise, but its effect has been to make the day very pleasantly cool.
AUGUST 29th.--Went up to the Tukh-t-i-Suliman (Solomon's Throne) before breakfast. It stands one thousand one hundred feet above the town, and the ascent is effected by means of unhewn stones arranged in the form of a rough flight of steps built by the Gins, I should fancy for their own private use and without any consideration for the puny race of mankind that was destined to follow them. I am a tall man and gifted with a considerable length of _understanding_ but the strides I was obliged to take--sometimes almost bounds--if calculated to improve my muscles, were certainly very trying to my wind. However all things have an end, and so had that long flight of steps, and at the summit I had leisure to recover my breath and enjoy the magnificent view. I took care to have a clear day for this excursion, and the whole valley was seen stretched out like a map, and spreading far away to the feet of its stupendous mountain boundaries. The lakes like huge mirrors reflecting a dazzling radiance. The Jhelum twisting like a "gilded snake" and forming at the foot of the hill the original of the well-known shawl pattern; miles upon miles of bright and verdant fields, divided and marked out by the banks and hedges; clumps and groves of lofty trees diminished by distance to the appearance of mere dark green bushy excrescences; the poplar avenue looking like two long and paralleled lines drawn upon the ground; the fort and hill but a pigmy now; the city of sombre colour, with its houses closely huddled together and presenting an expanse of mud--unworthy stone for such a setting! The high and rugged mountains on every side piercing the clouds, out of which the everlasting snow and ice rock regions untrod by mortal foot gleam and glisten coldly in the scene below; these are the constituent parts of a view which taken altogether ranks among the finest (if indeed it be not itself the finest) in the world. But I have no description for it as a whole, words would fail me if I attempted to reproduce it on paper, so you must take the items and arrange them to your own satisfaction, and wish you had the opportunity of seeing the glorious original. I am no antiquarian, but I believe the building itself possesses great interest for those who indulge in that musty study, on account of its vast antiquity and uncertain history. To me it is only a Hindoo temple of quaint architecture and unwholesome smell. Inside it is a small marble idol in the form of a pillar with a snake carved round it.
AUGUST 30th, Sunday.--The beginning of a fresh week which will at its conclusion find me on my way homewards, my back turned on the lovely valley and all the beauties that I have witnessed existing only in my memory like a pleasant dream that has passed. So wags the world, joys giving place to sorrows, and sorrows in their turn effaced by fresh happiness or oblivion. For a little while each one of us plays his ever varying part in the great drama of life. Now bewailing with bursting heart, and scalding tears the light affliction which is but for a moment; now with ringing laugh and reckless gaiety he enjoys the present, forgetful alike of past and future, now with stormy passions raging he "like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep;" and then is his short act over, then the curtain falls and then will he be called before it to receive approbation? Who can tell, I judge not one individually; but I may generalize and say, that while as a rule we give a terrible earnestness to the performance of the _business_ connected with our parts, we too often fail to appreciate and interpret the _spirit_ of the character, without which it is of course but a sorry exhibition and one that will be deservedly damned. As I sit under the shade of the chenars writing, a young native swell is passing along the opposite bank of the canal--a mere boy, with gold turban, lofty plume and embroidered clothing, riding a horse led by two grooms, followed by attendants also mounted, but sitting two on a horse and preceded by a band consisting only of some six drummers. He is playing his part doubtless very much to his own satisfaction, and little thinking that there is one "taking notes" and laughing at his proceedings. But so it is, we can always see, and ridicule the faults and foibles of others, would to God we could as easily perceive and weep over those of our own. The Baboo Mohes Chund called to pay his farewell visit to me and shortly afterwards sent a second edition of "russud" including as before--a live sheep.
AUGUST 31st.--My last day in Sreenuggur--and now let me make a few observations on a topic which I dare say you are surprised has not been mentioned before, I mean the women; the far-famed beauties of Kashmir. I am not ungallant, while I have been silent, I have been observing, and have delayed my remarks in order that they might have the benefit of the largest experience I could command. I did this the more willingly, because to tell the truth, I was disappointed at first, and I hoped that by waiting I might eventually have reason to change my unfavourable opinion. This however has not been the case, and while I intend to do full justice to their charms I must commence by saying that they have been grossly exaggerated. I do not of course allude to the higher classes. They are invisible; they _may_ be very beautiful, but are never seen by Europeans. But the middle and lower classes go about with the face uncovered, exposing themselves to the criticism of some and the admiration of others, and it is of them I speak. The slim elegant figure of the Hindoo is seldom seen; they are large, plump, round women. Their complexion has been absurdly compared to that of our brunettes (may they feel complimented thereby) but veracity compels me to say that they are _very dark_. Fair indeed by comparison with the Hindoos, but actually and unmistakeably copper-coloured not to say _black_. In their features we find a great improvement; a well-shaped nose replaces the expanded nostrils, compressed lips, the thick pouting ones, their teeth are of marvellous whiteness and regularity as are those of all Asiatics. Their cheeks may sometimes have a tinge of pink, but this is usually veiled by the darker tint of the "rete mucosum." Their eyes--oh! their eyes!--here lies their beauty, almond-shaped eyes, that when not in anger cannot help throwing the sweetest and most captivating glances. None of your trained disciplined eyes, taught to express feelings that do not exist; but still eyes that equally deceive, eyes that nature in some strange freak determined should ever look love. Unconsciously and unintentionally they dart upon you the brightest, the most tender, nay, even passionate glances. When looking at a young face, you only see the eyes; eyes so voluptuous, so maddening, that you exclaim "good heavens what a beautiful creature," and unless you are a calm and cool analyst like myself, you may not discover that there is really no beauty save in them. They dress their hair in a peculiar manner. It is plaited in a number of small plaits joining two larger ones which fall over the shoulders and unite in the middle of the back to form a long tail terminating with a tassel. The larger plaits are mixed with wool, this adds to their bulk, and increase the length of the tail, which often extends below the knees. They wear a single loose gown, reaching in ample folds nearly to the feet. On the head a small red skull cap, over which is thrown the white (too often dirty) "chudder"--a light cloth which hangs down the back and is used for veiling the face. The boatwomen are renowned for their beauty. I have seen but little of it. The Punditanees are said to be more beautiful than the boatwomen. I consider them even less so. But among the Nautch girls I have seen both grace and beauty, and as a class, I certainly think far better looking than the others. Respect to age is a noble feeling--though one that is unfortunately at a low ebb now-a-days--but truth, compels me and I must pronounce all the elderly women to be positively ugly, and a woman is elderly in Kashmir when in England she still might be called young. The men are a fine race, regular features, broad shouldered and muscular, wearing their bushy black beards on their faces, but shaving the head, which is covered with a small coloured skull cap and white turban. Two other men have pitched their tents under this tope. To-morrow I shall leave them in undisturbed possession of the whole. They are friends and have been travelling in Kashmir. I have had a conversation with one of them, but I don't like strangers and am glad they did not come before.
SEPTEMBER 1st.--Up and away, taking a last look at the town and bridges, a last look at the Tukh-t-i-Suliman while floating down the river. I am on my way to Baramula, having given up my intended visit to Gulmurg, so that I may get a week at Murree, and see more of the place than I did when I was last there. Adieu to Sreenuggur, adieu to the Scind, adieu to Manusbul; gently onwards we go towards lake Wulloor. It is a bright clear day, one of the brightest among the many bright ones, and the valley seems smiling upon me an affectionate farewell in order that the last recollections and parting scene may be a joyful memory to me in days and years to come. I thank thee for it. When I am gone let rain-tears fall and clouds of care bewail my absence, but gladden my departing moments with the full radiance of thy glorious countenance. Oh! Kashmir, loveliest spot on earth, I owe thee a deep debt of gratitude, I came to thee weak in body; thou hast restored my strength, I was poor in thought; thou hast filled my heart with good things, I was proud in conceit; thou hast shown me nature's grandeur and my own littleness. With a voiceless tongue thou hast spoken and my spirit has heard the unuttered words. Tales of the creation when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy; tales of man and his works perished in the endless roll of ages; tales of the future when heaven and earth shall have passed away amid the dread terror of the great tribulation. Aye, and one more tale, a tale of love, mercy, and forgiveness; the tale of an Asiatic--who, not far from here, was once "bruised for our transgressions," who took upon Himself the iniquities of us all and made up for us a mighty deliverance, and to this tale there is a refrain that echoes from hill to hill, and spreads along the plain in endless repetition, "believe only and thou shalt be saved," but though the command is so simple, its eager passionate tone as it swells around me, and an earnest mournful cadence as it dies away in the distance, seems to imply that it is neither easily nor commonly obeyed.
SEPTEMBER 2nd.--Awoke early and found myself in the broad waters of the lake, the full moon shining brightly in the west, and yet unpaled by the rosy dawn that was rapidly illuminating the east. Stopped at Sopoor for breakfast, and Macnamara, surgeon of the 60th Rifles, and his wife, arrived soon after me, also bound for Murree. Macnamara was at Peshawur with me, and was one of the committee that sent me away. We passed the morning in conversation, and at mid-day continued our journey to Baramula. He told me that he had heard that I was going home this winter with troops; but I do not know whether his information is reliable. I trust it may prove to be so, but it has not raised my hopes to a certainty. It is a good rule never to reckon confidently upon the achievement of our desires. It never assists to realise them and only renders the disappointment more bitter in case of failure. I have a great hope, but I do not forget that obstacles may arise, that while man proposes God disposes, and often find myself forming plans for next year under the supposition that I shall still remain in India. I have written the dedication of this volume and have written it as if I had already returned to England, and this may appear to indicate that I rely strongly upon the fulfilment of my expectation. But not so, I can alter or destroy it if need be, and shall do so with regret indeed, but without despair. About halfway between Sopoor and Baramula the wind increased to a gale and obliged me to take refuge under the bank. I dined with Macnamara and his wife at 8 o'clock, the weather moderated and we proceeded to Baramula.
SEPTEMBER 3rd.--At sunrise I obtained coolies, and turned my back on the happy valley for ever. It was a beautiful morning with a golden haze rising from the ground, the mountains appearing blue and purple against the eastern halo; but before I had gone a mile a dark cloud gathered around me, and wept passionate rain. I marched to Naoshera, ten miles, followed in an hour by Dr. and Mrs. Macnamara who will be my fellow travellers as far as Murree. The Rohale ferry is re-opened and I am returning by the direct road on the left bank of the Jhelum. There is a barahduree at every stage, so I sold my tent at Sreenuggur to render my baggage lighter. I am travelling with only six coolies. The river is much lower and less rapid than when I came up it, the excess of water caused by the melting of the snow during the summer having been carried off. It is still however a noisy turbulent torrent.
SEPTEMBER 4th.--A long march of fourteen miles to Ooree. The road is becoming very hilly, but is not as yet nearly so rough and difficult as on the other side. Passed two ruins; one of then very similar to those at Wangut, but much smaller.
SEPTEMBER 5th.--To Chukoti, sixteen miles, a severe and fatiguing march, the hills being intersected by ravines--the beds of streams--to all of which there was a steep descent and corresponding ascent. This is the worst march on the Murree road, but though bad, it is much better than five or six that I described on my journey from Abbottabad. These long marches are very detrimental to my diary, for at the conclusion I have no energy either to think or write. I am not using my dandy now, and have to walk every inch of the way.
SEPTEMBER 6th.--Fifteen weary miles to Huttian, low down on a level with the river where I found a number of tents belonging to the Lord Bishop of Calcutta and his Chaplain, who are here with a large retinue of servants, and are on their way into Kashmir. They had very considerately and unlike a certain ---- ---- left the bungalow empty for the use of other travellers. Macnamara sprained his knee yesterday, and used my dandy to day. One of my coolies stumbled on the road and the Kitta he was carrying--containing my stores and cooking utensils, went over the Rhudd and burst open in the fall. Macnamara was behind fortunately (for me) and superintended the collection of the articles so that my only loss of any moment is that of my big cooking pot, which from its weight probably rolled all the way down to the Jhelum--the long grass growing on the hill, stopped the other things. The six remaining marches are I am glad to say short. The three last have been a severe trial on account of the numerous and rough ups and downs, and for the last mile or two this morning, the soles of my feet were in great pain; Silly too was very exhausted even to the dropping of his tail.
SEPTEMBER 7th.--Got up at daybreak and marched on Chikar, distance ten miles. For three miles the road continued along the valley of the Jhelum, and then turned to the south, and crossed several ranges of hills, each range rising higher than the one before, very hard work it was, the ascents being so steep and long--I can't keep my breath going up hill; it is far more fatiguing than any roughness of road. Chikar is a good sized village with a fort and is situated on the summit of a mountain at least two thousand feet above the Jhelum. There is a fine view of the surrounding hills from the Barahduree. Shortly after our arrival it began to rain, and has turned out a wet day. I had half my crockery broken by the coolie dropping the basket instead of putting it carefully down at the conclusion of the march.
SEPTEMBER 8th.--To Meira, seven and a half miles, a toilsome hill for half the distance, and then a descent the rest of the way. Scenery very pretty, the valleys being much larger and the mountains higher. The Murree ridge is now visible. From this bungalow we can see the next halting place, half way up a hill on the opposite side of an extensive valley deeply cut by ravines. The view is really very grand--much the finest on this road--in some parts it slightly resembles the scenery around Darjeeling with, of course, pine trees taking the place of magnolias and rhododendrons. The mere mention of those trees--magnolias and rhododendrons I mean--will only give you a misconception of the Sikin forests, because your ideas will be turned to the stunted shrubs of our northern latitudes. The magnolias and rhododendrons I speak of, are huge towering trees, taller than the largest oaks. How well I remember the magnificent spectacle they presented when in blossom! I have never seen mountains or forests that could compare in grandeur with those of the eastern Himalayas. Can you imagine Kishun-gunga twenty-nine thousand feet high? No! it is impossible; it is a sight that produces the most intense awe, and when I first looked upon it I did not know how to contain my feelings; but enough, or I shall be giving you a chapter quite irrevelant to my journey from Kashmir. By the side of this bungalow stands a large cypress; a very beautiful and by no means a common tree. There is something peculiarly rich in its dark green foliage, and withal, melancholy look, but that is doubtless owing to its tomb--stone associations. Ince in his "Guide," calls it a _sycamore_. He could hardly have named a tree more widely different.
SEPTEMBER 9th.--To Dunee, eight and a half miles; first half, down hill, second up: both very steep and rough. A bad fatiguing march. The barahduree here has been lately white-washed and looks quite refreshing after the other dirty ones; but the rooms are ridiculously small. This is the last halt in Kashmirian territory; to-morrow we shall be in a dâk bungalow. I had a lesson to-day. The same lesson that the spider taught Bruce--never to cease striving to obtain any desired object; and not despair even if frequent failures attend the attempt. Ever since I left Baramula I have been endeavouring to catch another of the green butterflies, as beetles had eaten my first specimen. But they are very alert on the wing, and I could not get near one. The last two or three marches I had not seen any, having got out of their locality, but to-day a solitary one flew by me and I knocked it down, caught it, and secured it in my toper. Success will eventually crown all constant endeavours, it is a slight peg on which to hang a moral, but let it pass. Life is made up of trifles, and I desire my book to represent my life. A number of people--ladies, men, and children--came into the bungalow at 2 o'clock, having made a double march and overtaken us; so we are very closely packed, even the verandah being occupied.
SEPTEMBER 10th.--To Kohala, six miles, nearly all the way down a terribly steep and rough hill to the banks of the Jhelum--which river has taken a great bend among the mountains and now runs at right angles to its former course. A ferry boat crosses the torrent at this spot and the passage during the summer is attended with considerable danger, as the stream runs at the rate of twenty miles an hour. I got my baggage in it and landed upon British soil at the other side. The Dâk bungalow is just above, but we were very much crowded as all the other people remained for the night. After dinner a great thunderstorm took place accompanied with very heavy rain.
SEPTEMBER 11th.--Marched to Dargwal, twelve miles, up hill all the way, but the road is broad and smooth, so that the march was quickly and easily accomplished. M---- and his wife did not come in till the middle of the day as they could not get coolies in time to start early. There is a good furnished bungalow here, our other fellow travellers have gone on to Murree, so we have the house to ourselves.
SEPTEMBER 12th.--To Murree, ten miles, road the same as yesterday. Went to Woodcot, and found Spurgeon, Gordon, and Egerton, of the 36th; Hensma and Beadnell, 77th; and Dalrymple, 88th. Put up with them sharing Spurgeon's room. Spent a pleasant time at Murree, doing very little--a long rest of ten days after my labours--and on the 22nd, at 1 o'clock, I took my seat in the mail cart with Redan Massy for my companion, and started on my journey to Peshawur. Arrived at Rawul Birder at 6 in the evening, and went on at once by the Government van. Had no time for food. Got to Peshawur at 7 o'clock next morning, and thus ended my three months sick leave. And now I go back to the din and bustle of life, the empty conventionalities of society, the noise and glitter of mess; to the re-pursuit of my profession, and to learn again by the bedside of many a dying man how weak and powerless is that profession to combat the ills that flesh is heir to. I sometimes wish I could exchange my present calling. Terrible thoughts often assail me, after the death of any of my patients. Questions as to whether I am at all responsible for the fatal issue. Whether by lack of knowledge that I should possess or by careless observation during the progress of the disease, I have allowed a man to die who might have been saved, or pushed into the grave one who was only trembling with uncertainty upon its brink. Yet as a set off against these feelings there is the satisfaction experienced when sufferings are relieved or health restored by the interposition of my aid. The profession of medicine is potent for good and evil. For good in the hands of him who makes it his lifelong study; for evil in his hands who adopts it merely as a respectable means of obtaining his livelihood. It is noble in the one case; detestable in the other. You do not know how detestable. If the vail could be raised, if you could see the vast amount of misery and suffering caused, the many hearts broken that God would not have made sad; and the many unprepared souls hurried out of this life into eternity by the ignorance of men who are "licensed to kill," you would cry out against the whole body of the profession with a bitter hatred, that even the army of noble and devoted minds amongst us would be unable to appease. Am I too severe? I fear not. There are charlatans and know nothings in every pursuit, but in mine they effect so seriously the temporal and may be eternal welfare of mankind that their existence is awful to contemplate. Shall I, in conclusion, write an apology for having nothing better than the foregoing to offer for your perusal "devil a bit." If I have written folly and you have read it all, why, you are the greater simpleton. To me it was an occupation when I had nothing better to do, on your part it was a foolish waste of time, which might have been more profitably employed. If I have written folly and you have _not_ read it, what necessity is there for me to apologize to you? If I have written sense and you consider it nonsense, you owe me an apology for your erroneous opinion. But if I have written sense and you have derived pleasure from the perusal of it, then we are both content, and I need neither forefend your criticism nor beg your excuses. Thus then I have proved that though it may possibly be necessary for you to apologize to me, it cannot under any circumstance be needful for me to apologize to you. But there is a small class to whom the above remarks do not apply. I mean those few who I delight to think will read my book diligently and admiringly, merely because _I_ wrote it. Whose judgment is warped by their affection, and who will be unconscious of the weary yawn my pages may often produce. Shall I apologize to them? No! let them read, let them yawn; T'is a labour of love on their part, a labour which _love_ has prepared for them--and for them alone--or mine.
And now farewell. May your shadow _never_ grow less! May you live for a thousand years.
JANUARY 16th, 1869.--If these notes should ever be written out by my relations after my death--for I am now like to die, let me beg that the many mistakes in spelling, consequent upon the hurry and roughness of the writing, may by corrected and not set down to ignorance.
LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS.
Prince Frederic of Schleswig Holstein. His Excellency Lieut.-General E. Frome, R.E., Governor of Guernsey. Sir P. Stafford Carey, Bailiff of Guernsey. Edgar MacCulloch, Esq., Lieutenant-Bailiff. William Wallace Armstrong, Esq., San Francisco. A.B. Mrs. Boucaut, Guernsey. General Sir George Brooke, K.C.B., R.H.A. Lieut.-Col. H.J. Buchanan, 2-9th Regiment. Major Henry L. Brownrigg, 84th Regiment. Henry S.R. Bagenal, Esq., Control Department. Captain George P. Beamish, 36th Regiment. Mr. George Beedle, Quarter-Master 6th Regiment. A. Brown, Esq., National Provincial Bank of England. J. P. Bainbrigge, Esq., Bank of England, Liverpool. J. Banckes, Esq., Shipwrecked Mariners' Society. Mrs. Crawford, Guernsey. Mrs. Cunnynghame, Edinburgh. W. Collins, Esq., M.D., Scots Fusilier Guards. Mrs. Cave, Hartley Whitney, Hants. Captain G. Collis, 6th Regiment. Colonel Conran, Fitzroy, Melbourne. H. Couling, Esq., Brighton. H. Cuppaidge, Esq. Miss Dugdale, 75, Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park, W. Miss E. Donne, Grove Terrace Highgate. Miss Donne, Salisbury. James D'Altera, Esq., M.D. James Deane, Esq., Queenstown, Cork. W.G. Don, Esq., M.D. Dr. Drewitt, Wimborne, Dorset. Dr. Dudfield, 8, Upper Phillimore Place, Kensington, W. B. De Marylski, Esq., Royal Artillery. Captain P. De Saumarez, Guernsey. Captain D.K. Evans, 6th Regiment. Mrs. W. Foster, 7, Lower Berkeley Street, London. Mrs. E. Foster, 10, Chester Terrace, Regent's Park. Mrs. Feilden, Isle of Herm. Major-Gen. Sampson Freeth, late Royal Engineers. Major-Gen. James H. Freeth, late Royal Engineers. Colonel Foster, late 16th Lancers. The Rev. W. Foran, Guernsey. Walter Freeth Esq., Croydon. Henry Foster Esq., Victoria Road, Kensington. Patterson Foster, Esq. Kingsly, O. Foster, Esq. Mrs. F.W. Gosselin, Guernsey. Rev. F. Giffard, The Vicarage, Hartley Wintney. John C. Guerin, Esq., Guernsey. S.M. Gully, Esq., 9th Regiment. F.L. Grundy, Esq., 6th Regiment. M. Garnier, Guernsey. Mrs. Horridge. Lieut.-Col. Fitzwilliam Hunter, 36th Regiment. T. Holmes, Esq., 18, Great Cumberland Place, Hyde Park. Captain J.B. Hopkins, 6th Regiment. Reginald Hollingworth, Esq., late 77th Regiment. T. Husband, Esq., 34, Argyle Road, Kensington. Charles Hogge, Esq., 6th Regiment.
In Memoriam. Miss B.S.H. Coventry Jeffery. Captain A.H. Josselyn, 9th Regiment. J.W. Jones, Esq., 5th Dragoon Guards. The Rev. Charles Kingsley, M.A. Mr. J. Kenwood, Hartley Wintney. Mrs. Le Marchant Thomas Le Marchant, Guernsey. Miss Lefebvre, Guernsey. Mrs. La Serre, Guernsey. Sir T. Galbraith Logan, K.C.B., Director General. Thomas Lacy, Esq., Guernsey. Major R.B. Lloyd, 36th Regiment. "Library," Officers, 36th Regiment. Mr. Thomas Lenfestey, Guernsey. Mrs. MacPherson, Guernsey. Mrs. Mogg, Clifton. Mrs. Peter Martin, Guernsey. Mrs. Myers, Guernsey. A.D. MacGregor, Esq., Guernsey. Capt. A.E. Morgan, late 71st Highland Lt. Inf. Captain J.W. Massey, 9th Regiment. J.W. Morgan, Esq., 6th Regiment. James E. Macdonnel, Esq., 9th Regiment. W.H. Marriot, Esq., 36th Regiment. S.M. Maxwell, Esq., 36th Regiment. A. Morgan, Esq., Treasurer, S.W. Railway. The Mess, 36th Regiment. W. Moullin, Esq., Clifton. Miss A.M. Newman, Cheltenham. The Rev. E.J. Ozanne, M.A., Guernsey. Captain J. Osmer, 36th Regiment. E.F. O'Leary, Esq., 6th Regiment. Mrs. Joshua Priaulx, Guernsey. Mr. Charles Palmer, Hartley Wintney. Miss M. Pittard Guernsey. Colonel Priaulx, Guernsey. Colonel Lewis Peyton. G. Pollock, Esq., 36, Grosvenor Street, London, W. C.W. Poulton, Esq., 35th Regiment. G. Pound; Esq., Odiham, Hants. Mrs. Ramsay, Isle of Sark. John Roberts, Esq., M.D., Guernsey. George M. Richmond, Esq., 36th Regiment. J.L. Rose, Esq., 36th Regiment. Mrs. Sandes, St. John's Hill, London, S.W. Mrs. R. Smith, Guernsey. Lieut.-Col. R. Scott, Fort George, Aberdeen. Major Charles Stirling, late Royal Artillery. Dr. Fowler Smith, District Recruiting Office, Peterborough. Capt. C. Spurgeon, 36th Regiment. Capt. H. Stopford, 36th Regiment. W. Smail, Esq., 36th Regiment. R.B. Smyth, Esq., M.B. 102d Regiment. Mrs. Threllfall, Ferryside, South Wales. Capt. C. Townsend, Royal Artillery. D. Thorburn, Esq., M.D., 8th Hussars. Mrs. Wren, 3 Paris Square, Bayswater. Charles Williams, Esq., Guernsey. Watkin S. Whylock, Esq., M.D., Assist.-Surgeon. Capt. H. Webb, 36th Regiment. Mr Wetheral, Oak Lodge, Winchfield. Netley Library. And "Others received too late for publication."
LE LIEVRE, PRINTER, STAR-OFFICE, BORDAGE-STREET.