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Chinese side of the pass he quite recovered his spirits ; he went down rollicking and singing, and was the first to enter the dreaded Shipki, where some Tartar young women speedily brought him to his bearings and threw him into a state of great perplexity.

It took us nearly ten hours to reach Shipki from Namgea fields, and we started at four in the morning in order to escape the full effect of the sun's rays when ascending the pass, which involved no rock-climbing, but a continuous and very steep ascent up a cork-screw path, which was the best I had seen since leaving Pangay. Though the air, generally speaking, is quite cool and invigorating at these great elevations, yet the reflected and radiating rock-heat is sometimes exceedingly oppressive; and so powerful are the rays of the sun in summer, that exposure to them, or even to a good reflection of them, will destroy the skin of the hands or face of a Europeon in five minutes or even less. We were all a little ill after crossing this pass, and I ascribe that not so much to the exertion it required, or to the rarefied air, as to the tremendous heat and glare of the sun on the south-east slope down to Shipki, which involves rather more than a mile of perpendicular descent.

A short way before reaching the extreme summit of the pass, we rested for a little on an open brow of the mountain covered with grass and flowers. The view

. over the Spiti ranges to the north-west was very extensive and striking; for, though it was a land of desolation on which we gazed, it was under an intensely dark-blue sky. It was beautifully coloured with snow and cloud and variegated rock, and presented vast ranges of picturesquely-shaped peaks, between two of

which the 18,000 feet Manerung Pass could easily be discerned. Westward, over sections of the Sutlej valley, near Rarang and Pangay, the great peaks and snows of the Indian Kailas mingled with the clouds of the Indian monsoon, which were arrested on its southern side. Behind us, and overhanging us, were glaciers and snowy peaks. Then came the summit of the Kúng-ma Pass; and to the north-east the vast citadel of Lío Porgyúl. Though the view was limited on one side, yet it was much more extensive than any I have seen from any other Himálayan pass,-even from the Shinkal, which is at least 2000 feet higher. An enormous semicircle was visible of grand precipices, high mountain-peaks, and snowy summits over 20,000 feet high.

Resting on the grass, looking on that beautiful yet awful scene—on the boundless wild of serrated ridges, rock - needles, mountain battlements, storm - scathed precipices, silvery domes, icy peaks, and snowy spires —and breathing the pure, keen, exhilarating air,-it almost seemed as if, during my illness at Pú, I had indeed passed from the torturing life of earth, and had now alighted upon a more glorious world. But the Namgea women dispelled the illusion by bringing me blue Alpine flowers, reminding me that I was still upon the sad star, the loveliness of which is marred by the dark shadow which hangs over all its sentient and conscious beings. “ Our life is crowned with darkness ;” and it becomes not those who aspire to be worthy of that crown to seek it prematurely, while those the inclination of whose natures must draw them from the purgatory of earth to a lower and darker world, if their existence is to be continued at all, instinctively cling to the happiest life they can hope to

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know. But even earthly life, under certain conditions, has its intense enjoyments. It was an immense relief for me, after the Sutlej valley and its shadow of death, to feel my feet on the springy turf of rounded slopes, to find that I had room to move and breathe—and to see the lights and shadows chasing each other over the flowery grass.

Before the last ascent, we passed, beneath a considerable glacier, into a small but deep ravine, just above which there was a camping-place for travellers, but no wood and no water visible, though a stream from the glacier might be heard moving underneath the ground. This camping-place marks the boundary between Kunáwar and the Chinese territory; and from there a gentle ascent, difficult only from the great rarity of the air, took us up to the extreme summit of the Kúng-ma Pass, where there are the ruins of a Tartar guardhouse, at which formerly travellers attempting to cross the Chinese frontier used to be stopped ; but as a European traveller makes his appearance at this gate of entrance only once in ten or fifteen years, ,

it was obviously quite unnecessary to keep a permanent guard up there at the inconvenient height of 16,000 feet-and so the congenial business of stopping his advance has been deputed to the people of the large village of Shipki, which lies immediately, but nearly 6000 feet, below. Fortunately there was hardly any wind; for at these great heights exposure to a high wind for a few minutes may be fatal, so rapidly does it make the body inanimate. From this guard - house the view towards Tartary was perfectly unclouded and clear. It presented to our view a great expanse of bare and rounded but smooth-looking hills fading away into the

elevated rolling plains beyond. The appearance of Tartary is quite different from that of Kunáwar and Spiti, and of the Western Himalaya in general. Except down at Shipki not a tree was visible, and there were no high peaks or abrupt precipices. No snow was visible in Tartary beyond Lío Porgyúl, though the Shírang mountain, over which the road to Gartop goes, must be about 18,000 feet high. The furze on these mountain plains was here and there of a dark-brown colour; and when Alexander Gerard, a native of Aberdeenshire, saw it from a neighbouring pass in 1818, he was at once struck by the resemblance of the furze to Scotch heather. Even “ Caledonia stern and wild,” however, has no scenes which could afford any notion of the wild sterility of these Tartar plains, or of the tremendous mass of Lío Porgyúl which flanked them on the immediate left. There is no descent in Scotland either to compare in utter wearisomeness to that of the 6000 feet from the top of the Kúng-ma down to the great village of Shipki, though, to do the Chinese justice, they must have expended not a little labour on the rude path which connects the two points. This path was too steep for riding down comfortably on a yak; and even Chota Khan, despite his bleeding at the nose, declined the offer which I made him of the use of mine. So I had to endure more than the usual amount of bumping, in my dandi, and of being let fall suddenly and violently on the stony ground, owing to the two coolies in front occasionally coming down by

I did, however, manage to get carried down, there being literally no help for it; but the dandiwallahs came to Mr Pagell next day and pathetically showed that gentleman the state of their shoulders.


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Chota Khan and one or two more of our servants had gone on in advance to Shipki, with some of the coolies, in order to have the little mountain-tents ready for us on our arrival; but that was not to be accomplished so easily as they expected. Instead of tents, a most amusing scene presented itself when we at last got down. But, in order to understand it, the reader must bear in mind that Shipki is situated on the very steep slope of a hill above a foaming river, and that it is by no means a place abundant in level ground. In fact there is no level ground at Shipki except the roofs of the houses, which are usually on a level with the streets, and the narrow terraced fields, the entrances to which are guarded by prickly hedges or stone walls, or chevaux-de-frise of withered gooseberry branches. You cannot pitch a tent on a slope, covered with big

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