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the spacious cemetery of the plains, rank in grass and monuments, with its gaunt black cypress trees, like gigantic mutes, sentinels along the loathsome walls. The bazaar of wooden tenements, with its staircases and balconies, looks as if Aladdin's friend of the lamp had purloined a street from Geneva or Lausanne, and placed it “cheek by jowl” with the cottages of Chota Simla.
I took a hasty survey of these from a rising ground, just as the sun appeared above the Mussoorie hills. Many a rana's fort was visible from the spot I stood upon. In that direction are Belaspoor and Malown; and far below these, winding like a thread of finest silver wire, is a river of the plains,—it is the Sutlej, near Loodiana. In the opposite direction is the pine forest of Mahaseo, over the fringe-like top of which is seen the highest mountain peak known to man. I could not tarry, and commenced the descent of the precipice called the “Simla Ghaut.” For upwards of two miles this steep path proceeds without a turning, obliquely along the mountain side, frightfully abrupt to the timid horseman or uncertain-footed ghoont; one false step of man or horse! the idea of such occurring is decidedly unpleasant to him who seeks the valley below. The mountain is composed of micaceous schist and gneiss, with loosened and rounded masses of a granitic nature occasionally interrupting the way, until the point is gained where the ascent once more begins, and where a brawling torrent dashes over enormous boulders. A few huts, called Badharee, are close to the ford. From Badharee, the ascent is more gradual, and of shorter duration ; and on to Syree, which is the first stage from Simla, and where there is a bungalow for the convenience of travellers, the hill sides are grassy, and the valleys highly cultivated, the geological features changing into a brown conglomerate, with rounded pebbles of quartz. Though but ten miles from Simla, how altered has the scenery become ! no rhododendron, with its crimson petals, bounds the pathway; no dark green ilex, or darker deodara trees.
Leaving Syree, the greater portion of the road is downhill to the village of Hurreepore, where there is also a station bungalow; it is placed upon a lovely spot; an old square tower, the ruined hold of some rana of the hills, occupies a rising ground hard by ; below is the alpine village which gives a name to the whole; and deeper still a rapid stream shoots, spanned by a rickety wooden bridge, suspended upon hempen ropes, and only trusted when the rains have rendered the river unfordable. Another fifty yards down the stream, and it passes through a most remarkable cleft in the mountain, which is perpendicularly rent in twain, the result of some tremendous natural convulsion; and through this chasm of two hundred yards the road is in the bed of the river. Turning sharply round the western angle of the riven hill, a few paharee huts are at the landing-place, and from these is a zigzag ascent as steep almost as a ladder-up, up, up—the turnings seem endless, and at every turning there is a miniature glen, with a shelving rock or rounded stone at its mouth, on which the paharee rests Asiat.Journ.N.S.VOL.IV.No.20.
his cone-shaped basket, whilst he drinks of the ice-cold pencil that ripples o'er the withered leaf he has placed to guide it. Go a little deeper, and further removed from the highway, and search for a rill similar to this, and mayhap, for it is common, you may find beneath it a slumbering infant, the slender line of water sparkling as it falls upon the sleeper's head,--a strange cradle, in sooth!
Between Hurreepore and where the ascent begins to the fir tree bungalow, or first stage from the foot of the hills, the course of a tributary to the river of the cleft is crossed some five or six times. To the left is the obliquely flat-topped hill on which the village and cantonment of Subathoo are built ; the huts of the Goorka sepoys, round a cone rising from the flat surface of the larger one, giving a honeycomb appearance. Subathoo, although upon a hill, is far overtopped by hills around, and the range of temperature consequently differs much from Simla or the Kussowlee range, on the plainward side. An ascent of three miles, though more gradual than that of the Simla Ghaut, brings the traveller to “the fir tree bungalow,” nestled in a niche of the Kussowlee range, seven thousand feet above the sea, and where for the first time for many a year, the bilious man, so long imprisoned in the plains, gains the welcome sight of a tree emblematic of his home. A lovelier spot than the “fir tree bungalow” cannot be, and, placed a hundred feet from the ridge, upon the northern face of the hill, the view of the plains is entirely excluded. Probably it was better to exclude them, to give a prospect of interminable hills, and if possible drive away from the health-seeker the recollections of the other; but let him of strength linger in the niche above, where the short grass is strewn with fir cones, -he may never see the like again, and he will do wisely to profit by it. Towards the south-east is the gorge above Barrh. Eighty miles of plain, studded with trees, rivers, villages, and cities, are within the eye's range ; reaches of rivers in several directions, like little chips of mother-o'-pearl scattered over a green carpeting ; the fine old wood of Munnymajara and Bussee Dera, the Pinjore range of hills, and the valley of the same name, with hundreds of ruined banian trees, crumbling grotesquely. Look down! the gorge is rank with growing things ; the huge cactus with its candelabra branches, plantain stems, and clumps of bamboos.
The descent to Barrh is zigzag and abrupt, and when there, the traveller finds the village and the station bungalow equally hot, moist, and unwholesome, but withal a busy place, for there are generally a few tents pitched close by, or a dak starting or arriving. A subaltern, with leave between musters, is just starting for Simla, intending to ride there in a single sun; behind him is another of the same degree ; but the ruddy hue of the first is not seen in him, and he lounges in a “jampan,” or Indian sedan, to which eight hill-men are harnessed. Yes! the church-yard of Simla is preferable to one in the plains, poor fellow !
CHAPTER VIII." THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH." A clear blue sky is to most people a welcome sight; but when it reaches the admirer by shot-holes in the fly of his tent, he limits his satisfaction according to circumstances. "Twere folly to expect that the maimed man, pinked by the bit of lead that came through yonder star, would feel the same as he who came off scathless. Once under the resai, and Buxoo gone with the light, gazing upwards, there is a little planetary system correctly worked out by matchlock balls. Hiss again! there is another-ugly things these shot-holes-probably under the charpoy would be full as pleasant as upon it.
A ruin is always interesting, wherever it may be; it signifies little in what country it is found. Mandoo, Gour, Sirhind, or our own Melrose, with its placid Tweed, all have a hold upon the casual beholder. But there is a deeper interest than this excited when plodding amid the ruin made but yesterday,—splintered beams and fractured corner-stones, grazed by cannon-shot and blackened by the exploding charge, in one chaotic mass around. Bluff Mahmoud of Ghuznee look down upon thy riven gate!
Purwandurra came,-an unequal conflict, where seven white men charged the sky-blue banner of the Dost,—and the bright side of the picture was then ended. The season rolled round, and the storm gathered and thickened, and there was much distrust. The detached brigade ; dangers in the passes ; Gilzies on every ledge. Behind every buttress of rock that jutted out in harsh profile was the far-carrying jazail ; and far from whence it sped, the bullet of this formidable weapon, whizzing past with unpleasant fidelity, would chip the conglomerate rock overhead. Pooh! what could muskets avail in this warfare? Then, the hasty camp, the ill-pitched tents,-ragged and almost ropeless, for no tent-pin would drive into the solid rock; yet, with a saleeta for a pallet, fatigue brought sleep, with fair visions of home; friends, long unseen, hovered round the holstered pillow, too soon dispelled by the sharp ring of a dozen jazails. Or the night march, with moonlight just sufficient to light up the prominences, rendering stern and sombre the dark cavern and riven cleft; the grim figure of an Affghan, as he stole round some rocky projection to take aim ; the sharp pale streak of fire issuing from his covert; the echo and re-echo of his shot, and the exulting yell that followed the fall of man, horse, or camel. The “dour” upon the rear-guard, when the fallen afforded chance of plunder; the bearded native with his fearful knife, eager to sacrifice the maimed, and rushing down, maniac-like; but the murder of the pale-faced drummerboy hung upon the conscience of the Moslem of the hills not more than the destruction of an insect displeasing to the sight. It was a strife of retribution, and, under the mask of religion, the Faithful lashed themselves into frenzy ; but the detached brigade made its way.
The next scene was one of murder and treachery; of fanatical trust and neglect; and many felt, but spoke not the forebodings that arose within them. But there were some whose case was harder than the rest, for they had wives and children in the city, and these knew what might be their fate; yet the husband went out daily to battle, and returned as oft, wondering that another day's strife had left him alive. He looked upon his wife, whom to-morrow he might leave without a protector; and as he twined his fingers among her disordered hair, and told who lived and who had fallen that day, the little boy at her knee, finding somewhat of pleasure even in that hour, lifted from the ground his father's clattering scabbard, and the blade fell out. “Pah! return it, boy :" it ran with gore,—there were human brains upon it. Lucky was he who fell in any one of these valorous charges; many of those who did not were afterwards picked off, unable to defend themselves, by a skulking marksman.
The force was ordered forth to the sacrifice ; discipline remained, so it obeyed. The gates of Cabool closed immediately behind, the passes lay before, and two feet of snow upon the Huft-Kotul. The well-knit sepoy, soon becoming unable to grasp his musket, abandoned it; kept on a little longer, and then gave his throat to be cut, in accordance with his notions of predestination. The camp-follower threw from his tattoo the boxes of supplies and stock in trade, and trusted to the animal for his own life. That night the army occupied the side of the HuftKotul ; groups crouched in the snow, and grateful for darkness, for that was even a safeguard; but the keen blast of the mountain aided the foe, and many fell asleep who ne'er awoke again. No tents were pitched ; lying in heaps upon the ground, the owners slept beneath them. Day by day, and hour by hour, the miseries of all accumulated; it was pitiable. The army was melting away like the snows of the Huft-Kotul in summer; the daughters of a white race were surrendered, and the remnant pushed on to fulfil its fate. Tazeen! Koord Cabool!! Jugdullock's barrier!!! and Gundamuck's hill, clad with corpses!!!! But many fell worthily at these. Was 'not he a gallant soldier who, mid a heap of Moslem slain, and when a bullet aimed by one (himself in safety) passed through his neck, could still take three Affghan lives? That was near the last. They fell with uplifted swords. The tragedy was consummated.
Funerals are dread ordinances. The humble fisherman's corpse, restored by the repentant sea, is laid in the unmarked nook, all nettlegrown, with decent and simple grief. In towns and cities is ushered along its pompous way, by mourners paid for mourning, the rich man's bier. What! the rich man can buy those who will grieve for him at three and sixpence a-head? Pshaw! the commodity must be a drúg, indeed! Far more becoming is the solemn burial service over one who dies at sea, recognized, however humble, by England's naval flag; there is nothing pompous or loathsome in it; but then the service read, and the sullen plunge of the loaded body as it shoots to leeward,—that is what brings tears into the eyes. The morning and evening processions to the grave-yard during an Indian epidemic, the frequent hum ‘of the “ Dead March in Saul,” are hard to bear ; but more so is the ceremony of placing within his narrow home the prisoner who had sickened and died in bondage. His grave had been hollowed by his fellow-captives; no hearse with nodding plumes, and skulls, and hourglasses (typical of life's short course), were there ; no muffled train of inourning-coaches and empty chariots; no sleek and well-fed and wellpaid mutes. Nor did the military pageant guide his last earthly journey; the sword, and cap, and jacket were wanting ; the empty-booted charger is not there; no colours of his regiment on a coffin such as is afforded to the humblest dead! His fate was a sad one, indeed; not more so than those who fell unseen, whose last deeds, had they been known, had done somewhat to soothe a father or a mother; and widely differing must be the strain upon the heart of her whose husband, under the assurance of aid, seeking a cottage door, pale and wounded, to receive a cup of water, was basely knocked from his horse with a pebble and murdered, with his whose relative's death is thus most justly recorded : “ At the Koord Cabool pass, on January in the twenty-seventh year of his age, ever foremost where duty pointed and danger threatened, fell the generous-hearted and gallant John Leigh Doyle Sturt, lieutenant Bengal engineers. Shot through the groin, he was brought on to the encamping-ground at the outlet of the defile by Lieut. Mein, of H.M.'s 13th Light Infantry, where he lingered but a few hours. At the hands of his brave associates in arms his remains received Christian burial; the only one of that death-devoted host whom the earth received into her shelter, and preserved from the insults of a brutal foe.”
There was a more melancholy rite than this paid to the relics of mortality. The pass of Koord Cabool, the bridge at Sourkab, are white with bones! they witnessed the annihilation of an army; 15,000 human beings lie in the chain of defiles between Jellalabad and Cabool. Retribution was at hand. Pollock trod the Kyber, that had always been bought over, and joined the gallant Sale, no longer burrowing, for he had soundly thrashed the victorious Ameer; and jointly they pushed on to wreak a fearful vengeance. It was mournful to see; the guns ground into powder the bones around; and many saw it who had fathers and brothers there. Eight short months had passed since the martyrdom of a whole army. In every stunted bush, and lo! a skeleton,--that of a camp-follower or his helpmate, for the sepoy and European died more openly. On this rising ground was the last stand made ; there, the battalion of the Queen was cut to pieces. Go on, and number the fallen. Tell how Hamilton fell; Bott, Blair, and the young Hardyman ; Nicolls and Stewart, with their bluff rough-riders, their blue jackets crimsoned ere they sunk ; “red men,” indeed.* Hideous ! mummies set up in mockery! preserved by the snow of winter and the summer's sun, to strike with greater awe those who might follow. Set up as objects of hatred and scoffing, the insensible remains had been hooted at for a season, and cursed by the Moslem as he passed along. The bleaching bones at Gundamuck were collected: all-aged and youthful, Hindostanee and white man-were inhumed together.
* The Affghans described Nicolls and his troop as reddened with blood.