Page images

large plain encircled by a belt of firs; the flowers, certainly, had a good effect ; but there is no view as we had expected. There were eight or ten Sikh sepoys on duty here, looking after the Maharajah's horses; they complained bitterly of the duty, four months at a time; the weather, they assured us, being always, as at present, vilely cold and rainy. When practising with rifles, a Sikh came to compete with his matchlock; he pulled away at the trigger several times, but no discharge followed ; we unscrewed the whole lock, put it on again, and told him to fire away, getting to a respectable distance ourselves, he having casually informed us that it had been loaded about three months; however no accident happened, although it was a miracle, as the piece was old and unserviceable. He (the Sikh) told us himself that all the muskets and matchlocks in use by Gholaub Singh's troops on detachment were in the same state, the good ones being kept for the troops who march past and are looked at. We only remained one night at the Flowery Hill, and made our way across country to Sopur to rejoin the boats; the distance is a good eighteen miles, through a country swarming with fruit-trees of every kind; walnuts in profusion, they were just ripe (beginning of August); the bears are exceedingly fond of them, and come down as plentifully in this season of the year for walnuts, as they do in the latter end of April and beginning of May for mulberries. Sportsmen think little or nothing of these animals; on being fired at or alarmed whilst indulging their appetites, they never scramble down the trunk of the tree, but drop with a tremendous "hugh !" from the place where they have been masticating to the ground, scuttling away amongst the jungle at a rapid rate. About three or four miles from Sopur, the villagers told us that if we had patience to sit for an hour before daybreak amongst the Indian corn, we might kill as many as we liked.

After having been in the capital long enough to partake of another feast at the Mir Sahib's, we started again in a contrary direction from our former trip, and went up the Jhelum to Islamabad from this place. We reached Mottuna or Muttun, a village about four or five miles to the left and rear of it. Baron Hugel magnifies the consequence and sanctity of the Caves, dirty little holes, with the exception of one closed by a door, inhabited by myriads of bats. There is a tomb in this one, with a small lamp burning in commemoration of a fanatic having penetrated so far into the mountain as never to have returned. The people say he went direct to heaven; however that may be, no traces of him have been found up to the present time. The cave was not worth seeing; and the stench and closeness of the atmosphere were overpowering. A crowd of beggars dunned us here nearly all the way to and from the caves, with the well-used cry, "For the sake of God, some money!" A Pandit, who accompanied us, and appears to make a trade by getting people to write their names in a book, showed us a tank of very cold water filled with fish; they are tame to a degree, taking bread from one's hand, and almost allowing themselves to be pulled out of the pool. We induced the worthy Brahmin to walk as far as Kora Pandu, or ruins of what was once a superb temple to the sun, said to have been erected more than two thousand years ago by the Pandus, an old Hindoo dynasty, and pulled to pieces by the Mohammedans in a fanatical spirit on their conquering Cashmere: although almost a heap of ruins, there is enough still standing (two perfect arches in the centre and one side) to give it an air of consequence.

Straight across the country we came upon Achabul, formerly a royal residence ; the entrance is a square of large plane-trees, with a large tank in the centre, now in a great measure choked up with weeds. Three distinct cascades contribute to fill this tank, which, in the first place, issue from the lofty hill at the back of the garden in powerful jets; and, in laying out the pleasure-grounds, every advantage has been taken of them. One down the centre passes under the remains of what was once a handsome summer-house ; one on the right pursues its rapid course through lines of fruit trees; and one on the left has furnished a supply for the Hummaum on that side the garden those luxurious old gentlemen, the Mogul Emperors, always appear to have had their comforts about them, and this Hummaum is a place of considerable extent, and still in a tolerably good state of preservation. Calculating it to be two hundred and seventy years old, the style of masonry must be somewhat more solid than the lath and plaster of the present day. The country all round is well irrigated and fertile up to about Shahabad, once a city of some importance. We were pestered with applications to purchase young bears, several of them being led out for our inspection : the country people capture them at the foot of the hills without much danger, it would seem. Our advent at a village was productive of great confusion to a school of close-shaven little Moslems seated in the verandah of a house near which we had determined to breakfast: Abundance of fine walnuts grew in the trees overhead ; and up flew sticks and missiles of every description, each attempt being followed by showers of the ripe fruit. In vain was the rod of the pedagogue wielded with an energy that elicited shrieks and groans from the distracted scholars; and when, owing to a dispute respecting milk, the whole village turned out with shouts, boyish endurance could no longer hold out, and away scampered the seminary. Now the head of the village, or "lumburdar" as he is called, had the milk, but whether from fear of non-payment, or that, as usual, the producing a small quantity would raise the cry for more, he declared, as did his satellites, with the most solemn protestations, that there was not a drop to be obtained. The Sikh sepoy attached to us for the purpose of procuring supplies knew better, and after a little discussion the head of the village was flat on his face and getting it severely on his seat of honour with his inexpressibles drawn tight; the villagers—men, women and children—raised a tremendous outcry, keeping, however, at a distance, and the lumburdar, finding things rather warmer than he expected, notified to the operators that the milk could be got at once, whereupon the punishment ceased. At a sign from him the necessary article was brought from one of the adjacent houses; the mob vanished; the sufferer looked as if he had done a virtuous action, and the whole party talked, laughed, and bargained as if nothing unpleasant had ever taken place.

About three miles from Shahabad is Viernag. The gardens here must have been of great extent; however, there is little remaining of them at present. The object of attraction is a large octagonal well or tank, with water so cold that we found it a matter of considerable difficulty to remain in it more than half-a-minute ; it is clear, pure, and filled with fish so tame that they scarcely take the trouble to get out of the way to avoid being caught hold of by a diver: the pool is about five-and-thirty yards across, and one hundred and thirty paces round. The spring must be a strong one, as an immense body of water is continually flowing from it; it is supposed to be the source of the Jhelum. On the side where the water has egress is a comfortable bungalow, built, we were told, for Mr. John Lawrence, Commissioner of the Funjaub; and round all the other sides are vaulted-roofed domiciles, for the convenience of visitors and servants.

The Cashmeres, of course, say the pond is unfathomable; although Vigne states that he found bottom at thirty-five or forty feet. They (the Cashmeres) also, in connection with this well, tell the story of the two angels who, coming to earth to reprove mankind for their follies and evil courses, were themselves led captive by the charms of Cashmerian beauties, for which dereliction of duty they were placed in this pit, where they are to pine till the day of judgment. Whether owing to superstitious fears or merely from dread of the cold water, the boatmen with us rather shirked the plunge, contrary to their usual habit; one fellow, a young Hercules of twenty years of age, weighing thirteen stone, came in a most piteous whining manner, complaining that a Pundit (a miserable emaciated wretch that he pointed out) had beaten him and torn his clothes, which certainly had the appearance of having been clutched opposite ways in a scuffle. Laughing at his grief, we incautiously put the question, "Why don't you lick him?" He disappeared, and a few minutes afterwards we, hearing a disturbance and going to the window, were rather horrified, at seeing the Pundit on his face, with Hercules striking an attitude, one foot on the prostrate man's neck, and, judging from the fluttering in the breeze of the holy man's kuppra (garments), severe reprisals appeared to have been made; so that fear of the ruling powers of the district, and not personal dread, would appear to be the cause of Cashmeres in general betraying such seeming cowardice. Several of our servants having evinced a fervent desire to make the famous pilgrimage to Umr Nath, left us at Muttun, and on returning all declared that the Deity had manifested himself most distinctly to them; that on reaching the place they, in common with hundreds other devotees (all in a state of nudity), had penetrated into the sacred cavern, and some holy pigeons fluttering and declaring the presence of the god Krishn, the emblem of Hindooism, the Ling had appeared thrust through the roof surrounded by stalactites, that by this divine favour their heavy load of sin had been removed. On inquiry as to whether every pilgrim had been blessed as they, the reply was that five or six unfortunates from Calcutta (a distance of some fifteen hundred miles or more) had been affected with spiritual blindness at the very moment of divine manifestation, in consequence of which two committed suicide by throwing themselves over the terrific precipices with which the place is surrounded. The men to whom this miracle had been vouchsafed appeared te be and declared they were more satisfied than if wealth to any amount had been showered upon them; they really believed that their sins were forgiven then. Such is faith. One felt tempted to exclaim, "I have not seen so great faith, no, not in Israel!"

This Umr Nath is greatly sought after. Last year the Mir Sahib and his train visited it, though very difficult of access. Three marches en route to it, having to be made without finding a village to rest at or supplies of any description, and snow generally falling although in July. The hardships these pilgrims undergo, many of them poor half-naked wretches, is something frightful.

The women of Cashmere are certainly very handsome as a general rule; the poorer classes are well formed, a bright colour in their cheeks showing even through the dark skin. In rowing down the river one cannot fail being struck with the number of very pretty girls on the bank washing or carrying away water. The Panditans, as a class, excel, and were formerly to be seen bathing every evening, but whether the tricks of the Sahib Log, who were in the habit of rushing their boats amongst a bevy of fair damsels splashing about in the water, harassed them or excited the jealousy of the husbands cannot be decided. Certain it is that the ladies now-adays take their dip at a later hour, when their charms are not likely to meet with such ardent admiration. The boat people, both women and men, are famous for their personal beauty; their features are very regular, but they fade, like all Orientals, very early.



How often it has been said, that " fiction is strange, but truth is stranger still." The present generation of romance writers in France has sent forth many marvellous works of imagination, but certainly not one that in sheer dramatic interest can be compared to the unadorned recital of the events of the French Kevolution, the Consulate, and the Empire. We have already in a previous article pointed out the extremism which lies at the root of this fertility in dramatic interest. With the Saxon nations all changes, however complete, are more or less gradual in their operation, arising from those qualities of moderatism, of stubborn endurance, and judicious moderation, which render our most shining epochs less dazzling than those of the southern nations; but have, at the same time, preserved us from such total prostration as that which has been shown by France at various periods of modern history. As we have previously stated, those deeper laws of political gravitation which cause zenith and nadir to succeed each other so rapidly, are the despair of the French politicians of the English school, and the objects of a certain contempt on the part of our own more coolblooded reasoners. But there is only one solution for such enigmas, and that is, that the historical phenomena of each nation must be judged from the point of view of its own inherent moral order as determined by Supreme Power, which does not accommodate itself to human logic. Observation and experience, not any vain deductive process, can alone be of use to the practical statesman in France, or the practical writer on French affairs. The great disease of France, in 1815, was not her internal laws, institutions, and arrangements, which were admirably adapted to the French people, but that systematic violation of the laws of nations, of good faith in all international relations— which began with the "fraternizing" doctrines of the Republic, and characterized the greater part of the consulate and the whole of the empire.

It cannot be denied that a second expulsion of the Bourbons, a second republic, and a second establishment of the house of Bonaparte on the throne of France, has diminished nothing of the interest attaching to the extraordinary man whose numerous shining qualities go so far to make us forget that of all the enemies of the British empire he was the most implacable, and of all the enemies of the balanced political order of Europe—sought to be established at the Congress of Westphalia, and now consolidated in a diplomarchical constitution—he was, beyond all compare, the most formidable. His astounding and sudden fall, and his death in hopeless exile, went far to allay the bitterness of our national passion against " Boney the Monster," as depicted by Gillray, and estimated by our fathers; and the complete reversal of the spirit of the foreign policy of Napoleon I. by Napoleon III., with the retention of the domestic institutions of the first empire, have earned the warm approbation of all men of sound judgment, and completely dissevered from the name of Bonaparte the odium of by-gone days. The prosperity that has followed the revival of the wise and adequate internal institutions of the empire, has been abused by a metropolis too suddenly gluttonous of industrial wealth, and too sanguine in. tho attempt to realize that spirit of association of capital which has proved so productive in England and the United States. But, for the restraining it within due bounds, we must look to the vigour of the Government. With the moderatism of the Saxon character, all that commerce wants is to be let alone. With the sanguine temperament of the Celt, a vigorous repression of extremes by the strong hand of Government is not only salutary, but absolutely indispensable. As old students of the national physiology of the continental nations, we wish the French Government every success in its efforts to put a strait-jacket on the national insanity in the pursuit of schemes quite incompatible with the existing French basis of metallic currency, accompanied as it now is, by such a portentous dearth of silver.

With the first campaigns of Napoleon, then the republican general, all are familiar. It was not the gladiator who descends into the arena, but Jupiter Tonans who hurls thunderbolt after thunderbolt, until the opposing elements are crushed. With the frontiers of France at once secured and extended, the maritime power of England U. S. Mao., No. 342, May, 1857. K

« PreviousContinue »