Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/64

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those who would have disregarded the suggestions of the more tasteful, are obliged to abide by the orders of government. In consequence of the frequent mutations of Anglo-Indian society, the Abbey has more than once changed its master, and has always been considered a desirable property, notwithstanding its exposure to all the winds of heaven. It is scarcely possible to have a finer or more extensive view than that which is commanded from the windows. The gigantic Choor is visible to the right, capped with snow, which remains unmelted during the greater part of the year, while it looks down upon hills and valleys in endless succession, flourishing villages surrounded with wide cultivation, scattered hamlets, and thick forests; a partial glance of the Dhoon, and the plains beyond, closing in the prospect to the left, while in the distance the river Jumna may be seen threading the mazes of the champaing country, and marking its course in silver.


All adventurous persons who take up their head-quarters at any of the hill-stations, make excursions through the mountain passes beyond, and many penetrate to the sources of the Ganges and Jumna. We, who had travelled for the purpose of exploring as much as we could of this vast and most interesting region, made preparations, as soon as we had satisfied ourselves with the scenery and society at Mussooree, to continue our journey.

Our party consisted of three European gentlemen, each taking ten servants, while our coolees, or porters, amounted to eighty at the least. We provided ourselves with four tents, three sure-footed ponies, and two chairs, which in the plains are called taun jauns, but which in these hills obtain the name of jhampans, while the bearers, who carry them on their shoulders on poles, are called jhampanis. It is not always easy to induce the natives to engage in these expeditions, they consider the Feringis, who are not content with the comforts which they might enjoy under a good roof, to be little better than madmen, and have no idea of submitting, with patience, to hardships and privations brought on solely from a most absurd admiration of mountains, rocks, trees, and horrid snows. Accordingly, the instant that any disastrous circumstances occur, when food and fuel are scarce, the cold intense, and the prospect threatening, a general strike is almost certain to take place, and these mutinies are only suppressed by returning fine weather, the opportune attainment of a fat sheep, or the materials for a good fire—discontent gradually subsiding under the genial influence of sunshine, roast mutton, or even the blaze without the meat.

We knew beforehand all the perils which we had to encounter from cold, hunger, and the rebellion of our followers, but our ardour in the pursuit of the picturesque led us to think lightly of such things, and we started in high spirits, determined upon the accomplishment of our object. Without noting the events of every day's march, it will merely be necessary to say, that the commencement of our travels brought us to the place whence the accompanying view is taken. Marma, or Tyne, stands at an elevation of about ten thousand feet, and on the morning on which we reached this spot, the weather being remarkably clear, we had an opportunity of enjoying, to full perfection, the sublimity of mountain scenery. The foreground was composed of a rich ridge, covered with timber, the growth of ages,—and contrasting, by its dark foliage, with the barer eminences around, which, rising in all directions, appeared as if the tumultuous waves of a stormy ocean had suddenly been converted into earth, while the forest, standing forth in the midst, looked like a peninsula stretching far into the billows. Beyond