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pony absolutely refused to move a step without my allowing it to put its nose down close to the snow; and though, when it was in such an attitude on a steep slope, there was considerable difficulty in keeping on its back, I found it could be trusted to go down safely in that way; and carry me down it did, until we got into a deep and excessively dark gorge, where it was impossible to ride. It was so dark here that we could hardly see a step before us, and I scrambled through in a manner that I could hardly have believed possible. Our way lay along the bed of a stream full of great stones, over which we often fell. Then we would break through ice into pools of ice-cold water, and come to falls where we had to let one man down and descend upon his shoulders. The pony meanwhile followed us, obedient to the voice of its owner; and it seemed to have more power of finding its way than we possessed; for it got round descents which it could hardly have jumped, and which we could find no way of avoiding
After that frightful passage we came on more gentle and easy descents; but it was with intense relief that I saw the flames of a large fire of thorn-bushes which Chota Khan and the sowar had kindled for our guidance at a hamlet opposite to Dras, on our side of the river. We gladly turned our steps in that direction, and stayed there for the night, the men of the hamlet assisting in setting up my tent. It was past ten before I reached this place, so that we had been above fifteen hours almost continuously travelling. The party under Silas came in soon; but he himself did not turn up for nearly an hour, and when he arrived he was in a very excited state. After dark he got separated from his party, and came down that awful gorge in company with one old coolie, of whose language he understood only the single word bálú, or “ bear;” and no doubt there were likely enough to be bears about. This was clearly not treatment such as a Bombay butler had a right to expect; but a little cocoa had a beneficial effect upon him : and whenever my tent was set up I went to sleep in spite of the wind, which now began to blow violently, accompanied by rainwand was so worn out that I did not rise, or almost awake, till one o'clock next day.
THE ZOJI PASS AND SIND VALLEY.
DRAS THE SOURCE OF SNOW — MATÁAN THE WUZEER'S WUZEER
ADMINISTERING THE STICK--THE YARKAND ENVOY'S RETINUE-
The morning was wet and windy ; thick clouds covered the mountains which we had descended, and, as they lifted occasionally, I saw that heavy snow had fallen. In such weather, and being in a fatigued con
. dition, it was quite sufficient to move from our exposed camp only two miles, to the Thána of Dras, where there was the shelter of trees and of walls. The Thánadar there spoke of the snow being forty feet deep in winter, though the height is little over 10,000 feet, and he seemed a highly respectable old officer. His quarters are detached some way from the large fort where the most of his troops are stationed ; and I suppose these latter are not much needed now, unless for purposes of oppression. Dras is a dependency of Kashmír, being one of the provinces which have been added to it by Mohammedan force and Hindú fraud, which do not fail, in the long-run, to break the shield of the mountaineers. This valley is sometimes called Himbab, or the “ Source of Snow,”—which must be a very
suitable name for it, if that prodigious story about the forty feet of snow be true.
There remains, however, another pass to be crossed before we get into the valleys of even Upper Kashmir. A very cold and wet day's journey took us up the Dras river to the miserable hamlet of Matáan, where, before getting out of my tent next morning, I learned that the Yarkand envoy could not be far off. I heard a loud voice crying out, Caffé banao, cha banao“ Make coffee, make tea,”—followed by whack, whack, as the blows of a stick descended upon a man's back. This turned out to be the Wuzeer's Wuzeer, or the envoy's avant-courier, who was pushing on ahead of bis patron, and preparing the way. Like many gentlemen's gentlemen, he was extremely indignant at the comforts of life not being ready for him. I do not believe that this miserable hamlet of Matáan could have turned out a cup of tea or coffee to save the lives of all its inhabitants; and it seemed to me that the Wuzeer's Wuzeer administered the stick to the entire population of that unhappy village. When I came out of my tent, I had a momentary glimpse of a little man in something like a red dressing-gown, dancing furiously round a very big man, and hitting him with a long stick; but, on my appearance, he suddenly retired into his dúli.
After that, on the six marches down to Srinagar, I never found myself clear of the retinue of the Yarkand envoy: for the whole road down was covered with men carrying his things; and tents, guarded by Kashmir soldiers, had been pitched for him at various places. There were said to be 3000 coolies employed in carrying up himself and the effects he had purchased in Europe. I cannot say as to the exact number; but really there seemed to be no end of them, and they came from all parts of Kashmir. They were to be met with at almost every turning, and in very various positions. At one moment I would find half-a-dozen of them resting to groan under the weight of a 24-pounder gun, wrapped in straw, while a sepoy of the Kashmír Maharaja threatened them with his stick, or even with his sword; half an hourafter another party of them were pulling down walnuts from some grand old tree, while some grand-looking old dame (for the Kashmir women who survive to old age have an aristocratic appearance, which would attract attention in the Courts of Europe) was looking on the spoliation of her property, or on that of her grandchild, now with a melancholy dignity, which might have become the tragic muse, and anon with shrieks and imprecations which might have excited the envy of a menad. Again, I would come across
a three or four hundred of them at sundown, kneeling down at prayer, with their faces turned towards what was supposed to be the direction of Mecca, but which really was more in the direction of the North Pole star
an of anything else. At another time a party of them would halt as I came by, support their burdens on the short poles which they carried for that purpose, and some Hindústhani spokesman among them would say to me: “O protector of the poor !” (Gurib Parwár pronounced Guripur), “ you have been up among these snowy mountains-shall we ever see our house-roofs again?” They all had the same story as to their monetary position. Each man had got five rupees (I