[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 Depot, Chinsurah; Detachment 58th Regiment, at Sahibgunge; Head-Quarters 58th Regiment, at Sinchal, again at the Bengal Depot 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 Dak 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 Dak 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 Dak 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 Dak 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 Dak 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 "voila 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 Ladak. 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 Depot.
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. Laduk, 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.