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when it occurs, a few just men (and, it is to be hoped, women also) will certainly be left in the upper valleys of the Himálaya, I am unable to say; but it is well to know that there is an elevated and habitable region of the earth which is likely to be left undepopulated even by such an event as that just alluded to. Whether humanity will lose or gain by having to begin again from the simple starting-point of “ Om mani padme haun ” (vide Chapter XXXV.) is also a subject on which
a I feel a little uncertain ; but we may at least hope that the jewel in the lotus will not be lost; that what has accrued to it from the efforts and the agony of so many thousand years, of so many hundreds of human generations, may pass over to the inhabitants of a newly-formed earth. And when we come to consider what the grand valuable results of this our awful striving, our dread history, have been, most of what we are given to boast of will have to be relinquished as worthless, and we may, even as Christians, be glad to take refuge in the comprehensive Lama prayer, “O God, consider the jewel in the lotus. Thy will be done.' For, however appalling may have been the amount of human crime and woe, however pitiable our mistakes and ineffectual our struggles, there has ever been a jewel in the rank lotus of human life—something beautiful in it which is not of it, yet is mysteriously connected with, and hidden within, it. Viewed in this light the Lama prayer has a touching significance, and is not without a great lesson for us all.
But the Himálaya may have many visitors before that other Abode of Snow turns things topsy-turvy, if it ever do so; and these, I hope, may find my book of some service. It was not for them, however, that this volume was written, but for those who have never seen and may never see the Himalaya. I have sought, in however imperfect a manner, to enable such readers in some degree to realise what these great mountains are,—what scenes of beauty and grandeur they present —what is the character of the simple people who dwell among them--and what are the incidents the traveller meets with, his means of conveyance, and his mode of life. In attempting this I have had to struggle with what a kindly critic has called “the utterly unknown," and have been compelled, as a necessary part of the enterprise, to make my pages bristle with names and other words which are quite unfamiliar, and indeed for the most part entirely new, to the ordinary English reader-the
individual whose interest I want to engage. It has also been necessary to introduce some details of physical science, ethnology, archæology, and
, history; but these have been subordinated to the general aim of producing an intelligible idea of the region described. Perhaps I may be excused for suggesting that some little effort on the reader's part is also called for, if indeed my labours are of any value, which I am by no means sure of.
If there were any merit at all in my journey it lay only in the condition of body in which I commenced
it and carried it through, and in the determination with which, despite serious discouragement, I pursued what appeared to be a desperate remedy. My original intention was only to visit Masúri and Simla, and have a distant view of the Himálaya ; but the first glimpse of the Jumnotri and Gangotri peaks excited longings which there was no need to restrain, and I soon perceived that the air of the hill-stations could be of no use to me. So I set off from Simla, determined above all things to keep as high up as I could, and to have a snowy range between me and the Indian monsoon, and then, so far as consonant with that, to visit as many places of interest as possible. It probably would have been better had I been able to take more notes on the way; but the great fatigue of the journey, and the strain arising from my being alone, were rather too much for me; and sometimes, for several days at a time, I could do no more than note down the name of the village where we camped, and the temperature at daybreak.
There are many subjects, especially relating to the latter part of my journey, on which I wished to write at length, but found it inexpedient to do so in order not longer to delay the publication of this volume. As it is, I feel deeply indebted for its having been written at all to the encouragement, consideration, and advice of Mr Blackwood, the Editor of the famous Magazine which bears his name, and in which a great part, but not the whole, of this narrative originally
appeared. From the outset he sympathised warmly with my plan, and throughout he never failed to cheer my flagging spirits with generous praise, not to speak of other encouragement. Then he gave me a great deal of admirable advice. There is nothing that is commoner in this world than advice-nothing that is showered down upon one with more liberal profusion ; but there is nothing rarer than judicious useful advice, the first condition of which is sympathetic appreciation of what one would be at; and it was this invaluable kind of advice which Mr Blackwood freely tendered, pointing out where the treatment of my subject required expansion, or aiding me by his knowledge of the world and profoundly appreciative literary taste. I am charmed to find that the lotus of literature contains such a jewel; and I must say, also, that both the Messrs Blackwood did me essential service by the consideration they displayed when I sent in my manuscript at unreasonable times, or altered proofs unmercifully at the last moment. Prince Bismarck said to Count Arnim that the business of the Prussian Foreign Office could not be carried on if every Embassy were to conduct itself in the way that of Paris did ; and I am sure the business of Maga could not be carried on at all if all its contributors were to try its patience as I did.
I was much indebted also to an old friend—a genius loci and yet a man of European celebrity—who at the commencement of the appearance of my articles wrote to me in terms of the warmest encouragement. It may be that the favour with which the original articles appear to have been received may stand in the way of success now that they are reproduced in book-form ; so I
may mention that, though long passages have not been added to this reprint, yet very many short ones have ; the interstices, so to speak, have been filled up; greater accuracy has been attained ; and the whole work has been recast, and that into a form which, I venture to believe, will make it more acceptable to all readers ; and I am led to hope that this may be so, among other reasons, by the fact that an American publishing house, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, has already prepared stereotyped plates of my book, with a view to republication across the Atlantic.
I feel some regret at not having been able either to repress my outbreaks on the difficult subject of the policy which ought to be pursued in governing India, or to enter into the question in a fuller and more satisfactory manner than I have done ; but while that subject lay beyond the proper scope of this work, it was one which the incidents of my journey naturally led me incidentally to refer to. I shall now only express my profound conviction, that if India were more directly governed with an enlightened view to our own national interests than it is at present, it would be far better for the people of India; that it is the English in India, far more than the Bengal ryot, the educated native, or the Indian prince, who have