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have in England. Only one kind, however, is in flower, and that has only recently begun to bloom. Its flowers are of a deep crimson colour. One other kind we find occasionally, with a minute white blossom on it-a species seen but rarely in our English gardens. When the trees are at their full bloom they must present some gorgeous masses of colouring.
We halt at mid-day by a small torrent at the bottom of a deep ravine, and take our lunch in a little nook which is a perfect little paradise for ferns, a dozen different
a kinds growing in profusion among the rocks and on old tree-roots, the delicate fronds of the maiden-hair being most conspicuous and most beautiful amongst them.
Starting again after the hot mid-day hours are over, four miles, first of gradual ascent then of rapid descent, bring us to the Jumna, not here a broad, yellow, sluggish river as we have seen it at Agra and Delhi, but a clear mountain stream, scarcely thirty yards in width, though from the marks on the banks it seems to expand to thrice that size when in full flood.
It has run only a hundred miles from its source down to this point, and yet in that distance it has descended through more than 8,000 feet, while between this point and the mouths of the Ganges, distant 1,400 miles, there is only a difference of 2,200 feet in altitude. We cross the stream by a temporary bridge, close to where a permanent suspension-bridge is in course of erection, and then, after winding up hill again for three miles or more, we reach (near the village of Lukwali) a dák bungalow, in which we ensconce ourselves for the night.
Next morning we start off with the intention of getting to the top of Bairat, a mountain apparently at no great distance from Lukwâli, and round which the road to Simla passes. After winding in and out of numerous ravines, along a path that ascends gradually all the way, we reach, at the end of six miles, the point where the Simla road turns round the shoulder of the mountain. We have risen more than 2,000 feet since leaving Lukwâli, and as we have been walking on the southern face of Bairat, exposed, except when in the recesses of a ravine, to a burning sun, we do not feel inclined to attack the remaining 2,500 feet that lie between us and the top of the mountain, especially as a haze on the distant horizon promises no very extensive view. As it is, we can enjoy a fine prospect from where we have halted.
We are standing on the north side of the Jumna gorge, and can see the torrent rushing along its bottom 3,500 feet below us.
On the other side are mountains of various heights, their sides broken into numberless ravines and spurs, some green and wooded, some yellow and bare, all running steeply down into the gorge below. Away to the north-east the snowy peaks are indistinctly visible; one nearer point, marked in the map as 9,900 feet in height, has still a slight sprinkling of snow on its northern face.
One noticeable feature in the scenery here is the succession of artificial terraces which rise one above another, like gigantic flights of steps, up many of the sunny slopes to a height of 5,000 or 6,000 feet. It says much for the industry and energy of the mountain villagers that they thus turn the steepest hill-side, down which in the rains' torrents of water must flow, to good account. Nor can we help not'cing the superior appearance in feature, expression, and costume too, of these hardy mountaineers, especially of the women amongst them, as compared with the weak, apathetic-looking villagers of the plains.
We spend two or three hours on the shoulder of Bairat, and then retrace our steps to our bungalow. On the way down we notice a fine clump of deodars, growing in the
recess of a sheltered ravine. These are perhaps the finest trees that grow on the sides of the Himalayas. Anyone who has only seen the elegant young trees that display their graceful shape and foliage in European gardens, would hardly recognise as of the same species the tall, gnarled, and ragged-branched trees which grow in full vigour in these Highlands of North India. In size and shape they much resemble Scotch firs, though they are rougher in the bark, their branches are more twisted, and their foliage lighter in colour than is the case with those trees.
We repass the Lukwâli bungalow without waiting longer than necessary to collect our coolies, and then move down again to the Jumna, where we encamp for the night. Next morning we have a refreshing bathe in the clear waters. In the early morning both water and air are cold in these mountain gorges, but the change of temperature which takes place as the sun's rays penetrate them is very rapid and very great. We spend the morning in a walk down the wooded side of the Jumna gorge in the hope of finding some game, but beyond seeing one deer and three pheasants at a distance, and finding the footprints of a hyena, these Himalayan preserves yield us a blank morning. In the afternoon we move our encampment to the gorge where we had found such a luxuriance of ferns two days previously.
Our Bengalee seems to find his mountain legs' after two days looking for them, and proves himself very useful in cooking our tinned provisions, and in packing and unpacking our things. When he reaches Calcutta again he will probably have wonderful ‘yarns 'to spin to his fellowservants, who will listen with less than their usual apathy to his accounts of the royal cities of Akbar and Shah Jehan, and of the great snowy mountains of the north.
After a night in the ferny gorge we spend a morning again in search of quadruped or fowl. One hare and one pheasant fall to our guns, the latter over a cliff into such a tangled shrubbery that we cannot recover him. Before evening we are back again in Mussoorie. We still have the hotel all to ourselves, though one sign of the approaching commencement of the season is that * Black Monday' has dawned on several of the English schools, of which there are a large number up here.
We stay only one night in Mussoorie, and next morning early we walk down to Rajpore, where we again resign ourselves to a gharry. No fewer than eleven hours are spent in getting over forty-seven miles of road, and it is late at night before we reach Saharunpore.
We are again in the plains, and rapidly finding our way back to Calcutta. We stop on the way at Delhi, Cawnpore, and Lucknow; but we have already anticipated those visits, and must imagine ourselves arrived in Ballygunge, after a spell of forty hours in the railway, which, with the attendant influences of beat and dust, have restored us to our friends in a somewhat exhausted and decidedly grimy state. We feel, in fact, rather like the individual who appears in the Lord Mayor's show with the Dust of Ages upon him. But a bath soon sets that all right; and we spend another pleasant day or two in Calcutta before our steamer leaves for China and carries us still further eastwards.
PENANG AND SINGAPORE.
PENANG AND SINGAPORE.
• Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
PERHAPS before fifty years are over the usual route from Calcutta to Hongkong will be up the Brahmapootra valley, thence by a Fell railway over the Himalayas, then down a portion of the Kin-cha-Kiang, and then by rail again through the southern part of China to Canton—the whole journey occupying four days or so. At present we have to be content with a voyage of four times that length, and must go down to Singapore, and turn the southern corner of Asia, before making a straight course for Hongkong
Accordingly, on March 19, we go on board one of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, and Co.'s steamers, lying in the Hooghly almost opposite Fort William; and with the morning ebb tide we are soon steaming down the tortuous and dangerous channel.
The navigation of the Hooghly from Calcutta to the Sandheads, a distance of ninety miles, is probably as difficult as that of any other river, for a similar distance, in the world. The tidal currents run up and down at the rate of from four to even eight knots per hour; the channel is always intricate and narrow, and the banks on either side of it are constantly altering in the most irregular and