Advice to Officers in India/Chapter 12
1. SANITARIA.— I come now to treat of medical certificates, and the different plans resorted to by European officers when change of air is thought advisable. To an invalid labouring under chronic disease, and exhausted by slow but long-continued fever, change of air, as it is commonly called, brings about the most wonderful effects. I do not pretend to explain how this change operates, or to demonstrate whether there is any actual difference between the atmosphere of the twoplaces; or whether the good effects are indirectly produced by working upon the mind alone, but well assured I feel of its great efficacy in the restoration to health when convalescence has begun; as also of its giving a favorable turn to disease before convalescence has begun. Change of air, from a good to a bad climate, is often attended with advantage; and this is evenperceptible in removing from one house to another, from one room to another, or further still, from one bed to another. For the correctness of these remarks, I appeal to every one who has had the misfortune to suffer from long illness.
2. THE SICK ROOM.— If the most painful and dreary hours of our lives are spent in the sick room in England, even though surrounded with affectionate relations and every comfort that can mitigate disease,how forlorn must be the position of the bachelor in India in his solitary room, prostrated by sickness, unable to rise from his bed, unable to lift a glass of water to his lips, and hardly able to express his wants to his unsympathizing attendant,who feels aggrieved at the extra demand made upon him by his afflicted master. How often have I heard a patient utter, would that my sister were here! Would that my mother were here! Would that my wife were here in their days of trouble.
It is very much to be desired that a band of sick nurses should be available for officers and their families in times of sickness. These are not wanted in our hospitals, where every arrangement is as complete as circumstances admit of.
It is gratifying to see that the wants of the sick room of officers in India, are attracting so much public attention, and I cannot advocate the cause better than by giving the following extract from the Bengal Hurkaru, being part of a review of a public meeting held in Calcutta,in honour of Miss Nightingale.
I have witnessed that lady still young, accomplished and beautiful, throwing aside the luxuries that she was born and bred to, roughing it in a ward of a public hospital, and superintending the wants of the sick and wounded soldier at Balaclava, and gladly bear testimony to the intrinsic value of such ministration.
"When pain and anguish wrung the brow,
A ministering angel thou!"
"It is not in hospitals alone, however, that nursing is required. India,of all countries in the world, must demand a band of trained nurses for private houses. In England disease is mild, and every man, but the most solitary, possesses kind and earnest private relations to soothe his sufferings in the dark hour. What a contrast India presents is only too well known to those who have experienced the miseries of the bachelor's sick room, where solitude the most profound prevails, only disturbed by the occasional hasty visits of the physician, whose skill is rendered half nugatory by the impossibility of intrusting any one with the administration of medicine, or if the hour of death approach, by the vulture-like crowding of the servants to seize what booty they can lay their hands on. Impressed by these reflections we think it is much to be regretted that Mr. Hume did not embody his opinion in an amendment. We are quite sure that the measure we support would be equally honourable to Miss Nightingale, who might be invited to lay down her own laws, and if need be, send out one of her own trained assistants to superintend the institution we advocate. We sincerely trust it is not yet too late to effect some modification of this kind. The substance of the third resolution of our meeting might be submitted to Miss Nightingale's London committee, with a request that they should sanction the devotion of the sum to be collected to local purposes."
To establish such a staff of nurses is less difficult than may be imagined, now that the means appear forthcoming.
One lady superintendent, six nurses for Calcutta, two for each of the division stations of Barrackpore, Dinapore, Benares, Cawnpore, Merut,Umballah,Lahore, Peshawur, say twenty-five in toto would be enough to try the experiment, with a good prospect of success in the Bengal presidency.
3. MENTAL AFFECTIONS.— I have often been at a loss to account for the indifference shown by the world, as well as by medical officers, towards affections of the mind. When misplaced censure, or unmerited disgrace, or pecuniary loss, or blasted ambition, or disappointed love, or hope long deferred, or death of kindred or consort have disquieted the soul, and steeped the senses in melancholy and despair, when the appetite refuses sustenance and the couch affords no repose, when the mind preys on the body, and the body preys upon the mind, and health, like a shuttle-cock, is bandied from the one to the other, finding a resting place in neither; when the whole system, physical and metaphysical, becomes irritable and disturbed,and the physician is perplexed to determine which is the seat of the disease;it often happens that no active remedy is thought of, and the morbid diathesis is entrusted to time alone to effect a cure. Nor are any further steps taken till the patient sinks into hypochondriasis; till the overstretched mind threatens imbecility; or till the moral shock recoiling upon the corporeal frame, gives rise to symptoms of acute disease, that bring the unfortunate man to the margin of the grave, from which nothing but a long residence in his native country can rescue him. I fear many medical officers would scruple to give a sick certificate for such mental affliction, and that Government would look gravely before they sanctioned leave of absence in such cases; yet such seem to me as much entitled to indulgence as the more palpable distempers of the body.
I am not prepared to prove the frequency of insanity in India compared with that of Britain, but I am convinced that the climate and mode of life strongly predispose to that most dreadful of all disorders, and I would dissuade every one with any strong hereditary tendency, from settling in the east. When an officer unfortunately becomes insane, he is immediately put under careful surveillance, and sent either to the asylum in Calcutta or to Europe; this same surveillance being continued throughout the voyage.
4. LOVE OF CHANGE.— The love of change is inherent in the breasts of all men,and the more it is subjected to it the more it is desired. In fact, a constant change is necessary throughout our whole economy to preserve it in health; in our thoughts, our words,and our actions; our dress, our diet, our manners, and our customs, nay, in the very elements of our bodies, from the hair of our heads and the nads on our fingers, to the valves of the heart and the membranes of the brain;and if this change is suspended, disease in some form or another ensues.
From the nature of service in India,officers are never permanently settled. In the most peaceable times they are every second or third year obliged to migrate, and if longer stationary, they are apt to become weary of their monotonous life,and long again to be on the move. When they become sick, this ruling passion increases; and its good effects being so well scertained, the invalid's desire is to try change of air.
5.MEDICAL CERTIFICATES.—The young Assistant-surgeon should consider the giving a medical certificate a sacred privilege; and be fully impressed with the responsibility of his position, viz., his duty to the State on the one hand, and his duty to his patient on the other. There is no denying that Medical certificates have been abused; that the confidence of the surgeon has been abused; and that certificates have been obtained by plausible pretences, or by exaggerated statements, or by id-founded apprehensions, when in reality there was no occasion for the patient to leave his station. Still, when the public service does not suffer, indulgence is commendable rather than too strict an interpretation of general orders. Government are most liberal upon this point;nor is this inconsistent with the good of the service; for an officer returning from sick leave is,in nine cases out of ten, a more efficient man than if he had remained lingering off and on the sick list in the plains with his regiment, where his duty was merely nominal.
When an officer is at an outpost, a trip on the river, a month or two's sojourn at a large station, or a visit to the Sand-heads, will often set him on his legs again;the sequestered life he led being the origin of the disease, and the pleasures of society being the best remedy for the effects of monotony. In more severe cases a residence during the hot season in some ill Station; or a short voyage to Singapore, or China, or Ceylon or the Mauritius may be advisable. In cases still more severe it may be necessary to repair to the Cape of Good Hope or Australia for a couple of years; while in the worst cases nothing less than a return to Europe for three years will restore the patient to health.
When the Surgeon thinks it advisable to recommend change of climate to a patient, he must make out a statement of the case according to rules laid down in the medical code; and forward this to his commanding officer, with a letter calling for a medical committee to report upon the case; and should the committee concur in the opinion of the regimental-officer, the patient forwards the statement through the commanding officer to the Commander-in-Chief, and the recommendation of the committee is invariably complied with. As many days or even weeks, are at times necessary to obtain the sanction of the Commander-in-Chief; the commanding officer has the power to allow the invalid to leave at once, in anticipation of general orders, upon the immediate departure of the sick officer being declared necessary.
At small stations, when a committee cannot be assembled, the personal certificate of the surgeon is sufficient.
It may often happen that the Surgeon himself falls sick at an outpost, far removed from any medical assistance, and change of climate may be urgently necessary. In such cases the surgeon makes out his own case, and submits it to his commanding officer, who has the power to grant him permission to proceed to the head quarters of the division, where a regular committee can be assembled.
6. HILL STATIONS OF BENGAL.—The Sanitaria resorted to by officers of Bengal are Darjiling Naineethal, and Almorah,Missourie and Landour, Sindah and Subatoo, Dhurmsala and Murree. These are all seated on or near the outer range of the Himalayan, they have nearly the same altitude, 7,000 feet above the sea; and nearly the same climate, though many hundred miles apart, and many degrees different in latitude; for it is remarkable that latitude has less influence upon the temperature of the atmosphere than the altitude.
These Hill Stations are the brightest spots in our Indian service, the oases in the desert of our tropical exile, the lands of promise in the wilderness of our weary wanderings, where one and all at some period of their pilgrimage hope to resort to, as a refuge in time of trouble. A summer residence in these hills is quite delightful compared with the fiery ordeal of the plains. The climate is indeed European, even Italian. In the hottest weather the thermometer rarely rises above 76 in the shade, and frost and snow prevail in the winter; a fire in one's room is at all seasons agreeable, two or more good English blankets on one's bed, and personal clothing as warm as one would wear at home.
7.SCENERY OF THEHIMALAYAH.—The scenery of these hills is,I believe, the most stupendous, the most sublime in the world;—valley scooped out of valley, hill raised upon hill, crag hung upon crag, and mountain piled upon mountain, far above the limit of man's existence; far beyond the reach of the wild ass or the ibex; far above the existence of all vegetation; the glacier and the perpetual snow the only occupants; the avalanche, the thunderbolt,and the sunbeam the only visitants. In one summer's day one may taste of the climate of every region of the globe. One may start at early dawn with the heat oppressive, the thermometer at 100, and ascend before dark to the freezing point; through a succession of zones from the palm tree, the mango and the banana; through forests of the pine tree, the cherry, and the walnut; the oak, the rhododendron,and the yew; the chesnut, the cedar, and the cypress;the box, the holly, the mountain-ash, the alder, and the birch; and enjoy his evening dinner on a carpet embroidered with mosses and lichens, on the border of the vegetable world, with a glacier for his table, and a handful of snow to cool his wine.
The tiger, the leopard and the bear; the bison, the elephant and the rhinoceros; the ibex, antelope, and deer of various varieties; the wild goat and wild sheep, and wild donkey, there find food and protection.
Its rivers are worthy of the mountains that give them birth; roaring, raging, impetuous, irresistible floods;dashing over precipices, and cutting through rocks; at one place breaking into streams, where one might fish for trouts; at another expanding into pools, where a whale might lodge or a navy might ride: here sweeping away the giants of the forests, root and branch, like straws upon a rivulet; there washing away whole estates in landsslips; undermining the very mountains themselves, hurling their fragments audibly along their bottom like thunder, and piling up their colossal bones in boulders, that excite wonder and astonishment; compared with whose masses the stones of our Druidical circles are but putting-stones.
The slopes of these hills are studded with neat and commodious villages, tenanted by a primitive population in easy and comfortable circumstances; its uplands are sprinkled with numerous flocks and herds, and where the surface admits of being cut into terraces, with a command of water for irrigation, fertile crops of grain are produced. The greater part of European fruits and flowers grow spontaneously: the blackberry, the raspberry, the gooseberry and the currant;the cherry, the nut, the chesnut, and the walnut; while in their shade bloom the primrose, the clover, and the thyme, geraniums, jasmines, woodbine and eglantine. Apples, pears, plums, and apricots, come to perfection in the gardens; and of late years extensive tracts have been converted into tea plantations, supplying an article equal to that of China. Almost every English vegetable comes to perfection, and potatoes are transported in large quantities to the plains.
Such is a sketch of the Himalayan made from personal observation,and a residence of several years on duty there.
8. CLIMATE.—The most delightful months in these hills are April, May and June, September and October. The rainy season has its peculiar drawbacks. Few invalids reside there in winter. The climate of the plains is far superior. The 15th of April is the best season to repair to the hills; the 15th of October to leave them.
I am of opinion that all the Sanitaria on the Himalayah are pitched at too high an elevation, viz.:—7 to 8,000 feet;and that a much preferable climate is to be found at from 5,500 or 6,000. Tempted by the low temperature of the higher sites, their founders seem to have overlooked their inconveniences;their excessive rain, and fog, and severe winter. This is not the case at 5 and 6,000 feet. The temperature at that height is quite low enough to answer all the purposes of a sanitarium; the clouds that brood on the higher spots rarely fall so low, he rains are much lighter, and the winter most enjoyable. I will grant that a month previous to the rains and a month thereafter, the higher stations have the advantage, but as a residence throughout the year, the lower ones are decidedly preferable.
But let not the invalid rush to the hills unprepared for fatigue or inconvenience. A long dawk journey is not the only difficulty to be encountered:for when he has got to his destination, he will find many others he did not calculate upon. Even in a good hotel he will not be much at his ease: the want of baggage, of servants, of little domestic comforts, so essential to a man in delicate health, he will at first greatly miss; and if he take a house, he will, even though furnished, have many things to procure. Let him be prepared to meet these with patience and resolution. It is a general, and I think a well-founded opinion, that all hill stations are better adapted for preserving good health, than for restoring it when lost. When organic disease has occurred, such as diarrhœa, or dysentery, or hepatatis, or consumption, they are decidedly objectionable. Diarrhœa is epidemic in the hot weather, and few people visiting them even when in good health escape the "trot," but which is not a very serious affair.
Convalescence is a very delightful feeling at all times, and its delights partly recompence the patient for his past sufferings, and so long as it lasts he will be happy and contented. But when he is once more restored to his accustomed vigor, he will begin to feel the want of occupation, and idleness and ennui will render his days tedious and tiresome.
When the rains set in, and fall to the extent of 120 inches before they are over;when everything is enveloped in clouds; when confinement to the house for days and even weeks is unavoidable; when nought is to be heard but the splash of the rain as it falls from the roof, and the heavy drops pattering from leaf to leaf of the old oak trees; when nought can be seen through the impenetrable fog, still as a lake, and feeling so liquid that one almost fancies himself living under water; when the fog flits into the house like an unclean spirit, settles upon every article of furniture, and the body as well as the mind becomes blue with mould; the newly regained health, like a newly built house,is exposed to a severe trial,and many then wish themselves back in the plains. On those occasions it must not be forgotten,that though confined to the house for days, they would have been equally confined in the plains; and instead of sitting by a roaring pinewood fire in a snug room, they would be stretched on a couch fanned by a punkah, overwhelmed with heat and dust, and perspiration, with no hope of relief for many months. But every dark cloud has its margin of silver ;and a week or two of dismal weather is generally followed by some glorious breaks. There is generally a lull at sunrise or sunset ;presenting a panorama of dissolving views that no power of the pen, or the pencil, could describe.
I might throw out a few general hints for the invalid during his stay in the hills; but shall content myself with only one; and that is to put himself, immediately after his arrival, under the advice of the medical officer of the Sanitarium; there being one or two appointed for the express purpose of attending visitors.
9. DARJILING.— Darjiling, the most eastward of the Sanitaria of Bengal, is in the Sikhim country, (lately absorbed,) in N. lat. 27° E. long. 90°. Distance from Calcutta about 370 miles. elevation 7,220 feet above the sea. Range of thermom. 29° to 74°. Annual fall of rain 128 inches,(enormous.) Its aspect is to the north; the view of the snowy range from it is very magnificent, and the highest mountain in the world, Kun-chinjunga, 28,000 feet high, is about 50 miles direct distance.
Darjiling may be approached either by land or by water. The following is the best route for an invalid,and can be made in from six to nine days, according to the rate of halting. From Calcutta—
At each of these stations there is a government bungalow where supplies can be got.
Punkabarry, the first station in the hills, is only 1,600 feet high, and consequently not a desirable place to halt at. Kursion is the second, 4,500 feet high, and a very good place to rest at.
A good boat can proceed as far as Dulalgunge by the river Mahanuddy during the rains, and within 30 miles of Dulalgunge in dry weather, in 20 to 30 days. Dulalgunge is about 30 miles from the foot of the hills, and ready conveyance Can be procured thence to Darjiling.
Travellers bound to Darjiling, either up or down the Ganges by steam, should land at Beauleah, and join the above route at Bergatcha.
There was formerly a good hotel at Darjiling, but it has lately been given up from want of visitors, and the only public accommodation available is the staging bungalow. Houses equal to the demand, furnished,may be got for rent,but supplies of all sorts must be provided from Calcutta by the residents themselves.
The rains and fogs are excessively heavy, much more so than farther westward. They are almost incessant during June, July, and August, as much falling each month as thirty inches. Severe frost and heavy snow prevail in winter.
Darjiling has not answered general expectation, and has of late retrograded rather than advanced. It is used as a Sanitarium for European troops belonging to regiments in the lower provinces.
10.NAINEE-THAL.—Nainee-thal is situated in the province of Kumaon, in N. lat. 29-36, E.Ion. 79-20; elevation, 7,000 to 8,000 feet. It is distant from Bareilly and Moradabad about seventy miles. Kalidoongee stands at the foot of the hills in a forest of bamboos, &c., on dry hard shingle; its distance from the Thai is 16 miles, and the journey up is easily made in one day either by a pony, a jampan, or a dandy, any of which could be provided from the Thal. The best conveyance for' a lady or an invalid up the hill is a jampan, a sort of covered chair, supported upon two poles, and carried by four or six men, two or three in front and behind. The dandy is fit only for people in robust health;and consists of a sort of hammock strapped to a pole twelve or fourteen feet in length, on which the traveller sits with his arms resting on the pole, and his feet dependent. A palanquin can easily be carried, and if the traveller goes to Kalidoongee by dauk, he cannot do better than go up in his palkee, even though the bearers may object to its extra weight. The first four or five miles is over the stony bed of a river, the rest is one continuous but easy ascent.
There is a tolerably good hotel at Naineethall, and houses can easily be got for rent at from C. R. 400 to 800 during the season. There may be 80 or 100 houses,now built at the Thai. The commissioner of Kumaon, and one of his assistants live part of the year there. All ordinary supplies can be procured in the bazars, but most residents get up their European stores from Meerut or Cawnpore.
An assistant surgeon and a chaplain are stationed here, but their tour of duty is limited to two years.
The most agreeable months at the Thai are April, May, and June, October and November. During July, August and September, the rains are very heavy, almost incessant, and very unpleasant; severe frost and heavy snow are prevalent during the winter, and to avoid these many visitors proceed to Almorah or the plains.
The scenery on the first half of the ascent is not very interesting, but towards the top it becomes very grand, the perpendicular cliffs of Aya-patta being the chief features in the landscape.
The principal attraction of the station is the Lake or Thai; a sheet of water darkly, deeply blue, about a mile long, and varying from a a quarter to half a mile in breadth; fringed with the broad leaved lotus, overhung with luxuriant forest trees, and walled in by ranges of mountains rising by moderate slopes one or two thousand feet above the lake. The greater number of the houses are built low down, near the lake, but numbers are perched along the brows of the hills, and many on the summits of the ridges. There is an excellent road all round the lake, and numerous rides in all directions, even to the top of Cheenur, about 9,000 feet high. The views from the top of Cheenur are exceedingly grand; towards the south the plains of Rohdcund appear like a rich carpet spread out for nature herself to repose upon; the towns and the fields, the woods and waters, diminished to spots, pourtrayed like patterns, melting away in aerial perspective till the landscape is lost in the hazy horizon one hundred miles distant.
To the north an endless series of mountain ridges come in view, crowned with the snowy peaks of the Great Himalayah, Kedar Nath, and Budrinath, and Nundi-devy, and Juwahir, fit altars to look from nature up to nature's God. No wonder that the Hindoos considered those peaks so sacred, and enjoined pilgrimages to be made to them to offer up their prayers to Mahadeo, with an assurance of a happy immortality to the pilgrims that died of fatigue on the way; or that they offered up themselves as a sacrifice by ascending their heights till they perished in the snow,in "The valley of death." Not fifty years ago, this religious rite was prevalent at Kedarnath, but like many other modes of human sacrifice it was suppressed, when Kumaon became a dependance of the company.
11. ALMORAH.— Almorah is about thirty miles distant from Naineethal towards the north; there is a good road between the two;and staging Bungalows at Ramghur and Powree, but the journey with a spare pony can easily be made in one day. Almorah stands on the summit of a range of mountains considerably lower than its neighbours, at an elevation of only 5500 feet. The country within six or seven miles of it is quite naked, the forests having been cut down for firewood during centuries gone by,but the station is well planted by the householders. The soil is generally unfertile, and crops are rare. Its rocks are composed of slate and quartz, and large boulders of granite abound. Formerly a corps of the line was stationed here,but of late that has been withdrawn, and the duties of the province are performed by a local corps. Houses are consequently cheap and abundant, and there are four or five government Bungalows, which officers on sick leave are allowed to live in rent free, on application to the magistrate.
The town is a very respectable collection of well-built houses, partly of stone and partly of wood, with the roofs well covered with large slabs of slate, six, eight, or ten feet square, and the streets are well paved with the same material. The bazar is but scantily supplied with European supplies, and these must be procured from the plains. There is a well-built modern fort here, the old Goorkah Fort being converted into a jad.
The climate of Almorah is a happy medium between Naineethal and the plains, the thermometer rarely rises to 80°, and the frost and snow in the winter are not severe, and are welcomed rather than disliked. Its chief advantage is its exemption from heavy fogs and rains, the great drawback to places of higher elevation. The rains there are comparatively mild, a succession of showers with about equal portions of sunshine and shower, and the fogs that brood almost constantly on the tops of the higher mountains rarely fall so low as its elevation. Almorah has further the advantage of government bungalows in different directions, towards Loohooghaut four marches distant, and Petoraghur seven marches, where the invalid can find change of air and change of scene, advantages not to be overlooked, when the monotony of life renders time heavy on hand. Should he find the cold of Almorah too severe, he can descend 1500 feet to the pretty retreat of Hawulbagh only six miles distant,and where there are several houses for rent; and the lofty mountain of Binsur 9000 feet is only eight miles distant, where he could pitch his tent in a grove of cedar trees, amidst the most picturesque scenery in the world.
Should he wish to visit the Snow line, he can do so at Pinduree which is eight days journey distant. The most delightful tour in these hills is to Kedarnath, at the snow line, and this may be done in one month. October and April are the best months for the snow excursion,giving the preference to the former.
Should he tire of all these varieties,he will find a bridle road along the mountains to Missourie, seventeen days distant, but he must depend upon tents for shelter.
12. MISSOURIE AND LANLOUR.—Landour and Missourie may properly be called one station, as they are in conjunction; the only difference being that Landour is about 1000 feet higher than the generality of houses in Missourie. They are placed in N. Lat. 30° 35. E. Long. 78° 10. The elevation of Missourie is 7500, of Landour 8500.
Missourie is not far distant from Merut, and the journey can be made in two or three nights dawk. Before reaching the hills, the Sewalic range must be passed through by a very tedious road up the stony bed of a torrent,requiring alone three hours to accomplish it. There-after the Dhera Dhoon must be crossed ten or fifteen miles in breadth,in the middle of which is the station of Dhera. Should the invalid feel fatigued, he will do well to halt a day or two at one of the very good hotels here,he will find the temperature very pleasant, and may consider himself out of the heat of the plains. Early in the morning, he should go on to Rampore to breakfast, where there is a good hotel, and having written to the postmaster there, to have bearers ready, he may be up at Missourie in four or five hours either by pony or jampan. A stranger on arriving at Missourie,is very ill off for accommodation. There is but one hotel, and that a very miserable one, and in the bazar ;the club is a desirable resort, but of course, open only to its members, and early in the season it is full. The best plan is to have a house engaged ready for his reception. These are to be got furnished, and vary in expense from 500 to 800 rupees during the season. He may depend upon the shops for supplies, and may draw his pay through the collectorate of Dhera.
These stations are situated on a narrow ridge of mountains, with numerous offshoots and eminences, on the summits of which a house is generally built. A great proportion of the houses are built upon terraces cut out of the solid rock; the eaves of the back of the house being lower than the bank. Of these stations it may be said, that man has done every thing for them, and nature very little; they do not contain an acre in all, of level ground, and not a bit of good building stone. At Missourie there is no timber within twenty miles, fit for carpentry, and few trees of any sort; with naked limestone rocks sticking out every where, very little soil fit for vegetation, and no water within 300 feet or more of the ridge. The tops of the rocks have been cut away, or their ribs have been scooped out into flats, to obtain foundations for the houses; and fine roads of many miles in extent have been blasted and cut out of the solid rock at immense labour and expense, affording the most picturesque views; the mountains are very steep, and here and there precipitous with continuous descents of eight or ten miles between top and bottom. The wooding, as I have said, is scanty and only fit for burning, the fine oak trees being for the most part hollow; the rhododendron though a tree of five or six feet in diameter, is too brittle for service, and the pine and the deodar (cedar) are rare. The neighbouring hills are for the most part bare, and only a few peaks of snow are to be seen on the horizon.
Landour, as I have said,is about 1000 feet higher than Missourie, with a very easy ascent by a well made road. It is a depot for sick European soldiers, and contains barracks for about 200 men, and a very excellent hospital, with an assistant-surgeon in charge. A commanding officer, an adjutant and several officers doing duty reside on the hill. A limited number of invalids is every year sent up by different regiments in the adjoining provinces, where they reside one or two years, and in most cases return to their duty effective men. Of the comparative advantages of Missourie and Landour,much may be said on either side, there is more society, more gaiety, less rain, less fog, and less lightning at Missourie. At Landour there is more retirement, a cooler temperature and more sublime scenery, and if on duty there, rent-free quarters; but articles from the bazar must be brought up from Missourie, and water from 300 feet below its level, for there is no water on the hill of Landour in the dry season.
The Dhoon and the Dhoon breeze, and the Dhoon mist, are the most prominent traits in each landscape. Few scenes in nature can surpass the variety of the sublime and beautiful during one single day. At sunrise the Dhoon is seen, expanded 3 or 4,000 feet below, like a boundless meadow, dappled with forests and fertile fields, cut into sections by numerous rivulets, with every tree and every house distinctly marked. Beyond it appears the Sewalic range, the cemetery of an antediluvian world, exhumed by Cauteley and Falconer, those eminent geologists, who have reversed the order of the march of intellect, and directed it to an era anterior to man's existence, when the mammoth and the mastodon were the monarchs of the world, and the solid rock that now encases their bones, was a plastic mass of mud. Beyond the Sewalic range the fertile plains of Upper India may be traced to an immense distance; the Jumna filled by the melted snow, and the periodical rains, is seen on the right, meandering like a rivulet, or overflowing its banks like a sea. On the left is seen the most magnificent monument of the Company's dominions, the great Ganges canal, the mighty river being turned from its bed, and measured out in streams to fertilize the provinces through which it runs along a course of 7 or 800 miles, with a breadth of 170 feet, a depth of 10 feet and fit also for navigation.
About seven in the morning the dews of the night ascend and congregate in clouds, expanding and enlarging till the Dhoon is hidden from view. Soon this grand army forms into divisions, each advancing up some of the many ravines, filling every valley, and shrouding every ridge in impenetrable fog. About nine, the leading columns have got to the crests of the mountain, and a grand struggle takes place between the ascending clouds from the south, and the remains of the night wind from the north. Now, as the north wind lulls, the vanguard of a division rolls over the ridge, but as it freshens is driven back again, broken and dispersed over the curling heads of the main body in the centre. About half-past ten the day is generally decided, the south wind prevads, and a whole hemisphere of clouds bursts over the mountains like a deluge, rushes down the opposite valleys, and envelops the highest mountains in gloom. A steady heavy fog continues during the day, so damp, that every hair on one's cheek has its dew-drop. Now and then the sun looks through, the lightning flashes, and the thunder rolls. The windows of heaven are opened,and soon every crevice resounds with the rush of water. Towards sunset the north wind regains the ascendancy", the nimbous clouds are once more beat back to the plains, the lost sun comes out in glorious majesty, illuminating every rock and every ridge with golden light and purple shade, tinting the clouds and the sky in such gorgeous colours as to drive the landscape artist to despair. I have seen many sublime scenes in many lands, but none to be compared to a sunset in the Himalayah.
13. SIMLAH, SUBATHOO, &c.— Simlah is the principal sanatarium in the Himalayah, and has been for many years the resort of the head quarters of the army (now moved to Calcutta), and occasionally of the Governor-General. It stands in north lat. 30° 36', and east long. 77° 10', at an elevation varying from 7,000 to 9,000 feet; but most of the houses are placed below 8,000 feet, and overlook the valley of the Sutlej, though at a distance of many miles.
It has a good club, and one or two hotels. Houses are abundant, and at moderate rents, and supplies of every description are procurable. Carriages are unknown there, but it abounds in the most picturesque rides. Umballah is the nearest station to it in the plains, the distance from it to Kallca, at the foot of the hills, is seventy or eighty miles, thence to Simlah forty or fifty miles.
A European regiment is stationed at Kussowlie 6,500 feet high. There is little or no table land here, the sites for the houses and barracks being scooped out of the mountains. A European regiment is stationed at Dugshai, eighteen miles distant from Kalka, eight from Kussowlie, and ten from Subathoo, at an elevation of 6,000 feet; the country in general bleak and bare,and without trees. Another European corps is stationed at Subathoo, at an elevation of only 4,000 feet, with much undulating ground well adapted for houses, and with a climate intermediate between Simlah and the plains; its winters are so mild that ice and snow are hardly known; its rains and fogs are also much more moderate, and its summer heat such as not to require a punkah. Many, therefore, prefer it as a residence throughout the year.
14. MURREE.— This is the most recent station selected for a sanatarium, and was established so late as 1851. It stands in north lat. 33° 50', and long. 73°;its elevation [from 7,000 to 8,000 feet; in the Hazarah country, and only forty-five miles distant from Rawul Pindee. It has the advantage of all the other sanataria in having much table land convenient for building, and the means of a carriage road all the way up. It abounds in wood and water, and has a calcareous formation. It is chiefly resorted to by officers cantoned in the Punjaub. Its climate and seasons differ but little from that of the Himalayah.
15. KUNAWUR.—The severe winters, the brooding mists, the excessive rains, and the pre-disposition to diarrhœa, peculiar to the whole Himalayah Sanataria, have of late directed public attention to some still more favored spot; and the wished-for locality seems to have been found out in the province of Kunawur,in the valley of the Sutlej, beyond the great snowy range. There at Chini,in the midst of the most sublime scenery in the world, at an elevation of 5 or 6,000 feet above the sea, with a summer mild enough to bring grapes to perfection, and a winter cold enough to produce snow and ice, with little fog, no periodical rains and moderate showers at all seasons; in that happy land a climate appears to have been found, with every peculiarity desirable for European invalids.
The Marquis of Dalhousie lately spent one summer in Kunawur, and his Lordship and staff entertained the highest opinion of its advantages. Kunawur is but a thinly populated country, though possessing a most fertile soil, and every convenience for settlements. Chini, the most desirable site for a sanatarium, is only one hundred miles from Simlah, and a grand new road between the two is now almost completed, fit for beasts of burden.
It appears very desirable that a practical experiment should be made of its capabilities as a sanatarium, by locating a hundred invalids there for two or three seasons.