Page:From the Hebrides to the Himalayas- A Sketch of Eighteen Months' Wanderings in Western Isles and Eastern Highlands.djvu/152

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worn round the neck. Their cap is of thick woollen material, not very unlike a Scotch bonnet.

The women are dressed in bright, striped, woollen material; a long petticoat and plaid, sometimes in one piece, like the old Scotch dress. This is caught in a heavy fold at the back (en panier), and, leaving one shoulder bare, displays a very shapely arm, with quaint bracelets. These ornaments are sometimes of great value; but the very poorest girl fastens her plaids with a large brass brooch of precisely the old Celtic pattern, though with an Oriental audition of a curly wing pattern.

It is curious that the Celts of Scotland, the Khabyles of Algeria, and these Paharis of the far East, should fasten the identical striped woollen raiment with the same very peculiar brooch.

All these hill-women wear a round woollen cap just like that of the men, but sometimes with a scarlet top. At the back of the head they have a great chignon of scarlet wool, with long plaits of black wool. Both men and women almost invariably wear a bunch of natural flowers in their hats, generally a tuft of sweet yellow roses.

These fairs are generally held in some spot where the forest is held sacred, and where a small cedar temple contains an image of some hill-god who presides at the festivities. There were many little booths for the sale of divers treasures, and we looked about for something in which we might invest as "fairins," but found that a large picnic party from Simla had already swept away everything that was in the least curious.

One of the chief amusements was highly suggestive of Greenwich—namely, the presence of a number of "merry-go-rounds," in which these wild-looking Paharis whirled round and round with infinite delight. The whole scene reminded us forcibly of the pictures of Norwegian festivals. The various pine trees here are all more or less like gigantic spruce firs; upright as masts, and festooned to the topmost boughs with graceful Virginia creeper or large white clematis. We felt that at last we had reached something worthy of the name of forest. Not that Mahasso can show any of the magnificcnt twisted and gnarled deodars which we find farther up the country, but finer specimens of the morinda and rye pine could hardly be found, some of them towering a hundred and fifty, or two hundred feet without a bend.