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more dead than alive. The distance was only fourteen miles, and the first two and the last two were so easy that I was carried over them in my dandi; but the intervening ten were killing to one in my condition, for the dandi was of no use upon them, and I had to trust entirely to my own hands and feet. These ten miles took me exactly twelve hours, with only half an hour's rest. The fastest of my party took nine hours to the whole distance, so that I must have gone wonderfully fast considering that I had rheumatism besides dysentery, and could take nothing except a very little milk, either before starting or on the way.

The track - for it could not be called a path, and even goats could hardly have got along many parts of it-ran across the face of tremendous slate precipices, which rose up thousands of feet from the foaming and thundering Sutlej. Some rough survey of these dhung or cliffs was made, when it was proposed to continue the Hindústhan and Tibet road beyond Pangay, a project which has never been carried out; and Mr Cregeen, executive engineer, says of them, in No. CLXVI. of the “Professional Papers on Indian Engineering,” “ in the fifth march to Spooi, * the road must be taken across the cliffs which here line the right bank of the Sutlej in magnificent wildness. The native track across these cliffs, about 1500 feet above the crossing for the Hindústhan and Tibet road, is considered the worst footpath in Bussahir. This march will, I think, be the most expensive on the road ; the whole of the cutting will be through hard rock.” Any one who has had some experience of the footpaths in Bussahir may conceive what the worst of them is likely to be, but still he may be unable to comprehend how it is possible to get along faces of hard rock, thousands of feet above their base, when there has been no cutting or blasting either. It must be remembered, however, that though the precipices of the Himalaya look almost

* Pú is the name of this place, but the natives sometimes call it Púi, the i being added merely for the sake of euphony, as the Chinese sometimes change Shu, water, into Shui. In the Trigonometrical Survey map it has been transformed into Spuch. Where the Survey and Mr Cregeen found their versions of it I cannot imagine.

perpendicular from points where their entire gigantic proportions can be seen, yet, on a closer examination, it turns out that they are not quite perpendicular, and have many ledges which can be taken advantage of by the traveller.

In this case the weather had worn away the softer parts of the slate, leaving the harder ends sticking out; and I declare that these, with the addition of a few ropes of juniper-branches, were the only aids we had along many parts of these precipices when I crossed them. Where the protruding ends of slate were close together, long slabs of slate were laid across them, forming a sort of footpath such as might suit a chamoishunter; when they were not sufficiently in line, or were too far distant from each other, to allow of slabs being placed, we worked our way from one protruding end of slate to another as best we could; and where a long interval of twenty or thirty feet did not allow of this latter method of progress, ropes of twisted juniperbranches had been stretched from one protruding end to another, and slabs of slate had been placed on these, with their inner ends resting on any crevices which could be found in the precipice wall, thus forming a

footpath ” with great gaps in it, through which we could look down sometimes a long distance, and which bent and shook beneath our feet, allowing the slabs every now and then to drop out and fall towards the Sutlej, till shattered into innumerable fragments. It was useless attempting to rely on a rope at many of these places, for the men who would have had to hold the rope could hardly have found a position from which to stand the least strain. Indeed, the worst danger I

. met with was from a man officiously trying to help me on one of these juniper-bridges, with the result of nearly bringing the whole concern down. And if slabs of slate went out from underneath our feet, not less did slabs of slate come crashing down over and between our heads occasionally; for it seemed to me that the whole of that precipice had got into the habit of detaching itself in fragments into the river beneath. I may add, that having sent my servants on in frontto set up my tent and make other preparations in case of Mr Pagell being away, of which I had heard a rumour—I was entirely in the hands of the Súgnam bigarrís, of whose Tebarskad I hardly understood a word ; and that the July sun beat upon the slate, so that every breath from the rock was sickening. Beneath there were dark jagged precipices and an almost sunless torrent—so deeply is the Sutlej here sunk in its gorge-foaming along at the rate of about twenty miles an hour ; above there were frowning precipices and a cloudless sky, across which some eagle or huge raven-like Himalayan crow occasionally flitted.

I saw this footpath in an exceptionally bad statefor it is only used in winter when the higher roads are impassable from snow; and after all the damage of winter and spring it is not repaired until the beginning of winter. But no repairing, short of blasting out galleries in the face of the rock, could make much improvement in it. It was not, however, the danger of this path which made it frightful to me; that only made it interesting, and served as a stimulus. The mischief was that, in my disabled and weak state, I had to exert myself almost continuously on it for twelve hours in a burning sun. The Súgnam men did all in their power to assist me, and I could not but admire, and be deeply grateful for, their patience and kindness. But the longest day has an end, as Damiens said when he was taken out to be tortured ; and we reached Pú at last, my bearers, as they approached it, sending up sounds not unlike the Swiss jödel, which were replied to in similar fashion by their companions who had reached the place before them. Pú is a large village, situated about a thousand feet above the bed of the Sutlej, on the slope of a high, steep mountain. I found that my tent had been pitched on a long terraced field, well shaded with apricot-trees, on the outskirts of the village, and that Mr Pagell, the Moravian missionary, was absent on a long journey he was making in Spiti. Mrs Pagell, it appeared, was living with some native Christians near by, in a house guarded by ferocious dogs; but as she spoke neither English nor Hindústhani, only German and Tibetan, Silas had been unable to communicate with her, and the use of Nurdass as an interpreter had not then been discovered. This was serious news for a man in my condition ; but I was in too deathlike a state to do anything, and lying down in my tent, did not make any attempt to leave it until the day after next.

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CHAPTER XV.

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

COMPANIONS IN MY ILLNESS-SAND-FLIES-SCORPIONS- SERPENTS

TIBETAN MASTIFFS-CHINESE TARTARS-A SNOW-BEAR-GROUND
TOO DEAR FOR BURIAL-COR SCORPIONIS,

So soon as able, I staggered up to Mrs Pagell's residence, and explained the position I was in. She at once gave me access to her husband's store of medicines, where I found all I required to treat myself with -calomel, steel, chalk, Dover's powder, and, above all, pure ipecacuanha, which nauseous medicine was to me like a spring of living water in a dry and thirsty land, for I knew well that it was the only drug to be relied on for dysentery. This good Moravian sister was distressed at having no proper accommodation in her house for me ; but, otherwise, she placed all its resources at my disposal, and soon sent off a letter to be forwarded from village to village in search of her husband. Considering that, in ten years, Mrs Pagell had seldom seen a European, it was only to be expected that she should be a little flustered, and at a loss what to do; but her kindness was genuine, and I was greatly indebted to her.

I had hoped, by this time, to be leaving the Valley

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