Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/128

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we began to fancy that their predictions might be accomplished, and that there was a chance of our being buried in the snow. The wind blew very cold, adding for a time to our sufferings; but presently, about noon, the clouds began to break away, and to reveal patches of blue sky and welcome glimpses of sunshine; in another hour the heavens became clear and glorious, and then we made an attempt to render our situation more comfortable. Persuasion, threats, and tempting promises of reward, at length induced our half-frozen followers to bestir themselves in real earnest. They braced their energies to the encounter, and, having procured sufficient fuel, fires again blazed in our camp; and, though the cold was still intense, its bitterness was alleviated by the influence of the warm potations which we were now enabled to imbibe. The weather still continuing to improve, we rose in the morning with renovated spirits, and notwithstanding the fierce intensity of the cold, and the difficulties which the large masses of snow encumbering our path threw in our way, proceeded vigorously onwards. We were sometimes up to the waist, and frequently knee-deep in the snow, which concealing the danger of a road over rough and rugged blocks of granite, occasionally threatened precipitation into some treacherous abyss, in which life and limb would have been perilled. We ourselves got on tolerably well, but our people, loaded with baggage, lagged far behind, and we were obliged to be content with a sort of canvass awning rather than a tent, only a portion of our usual habitation being forthcoming at night, and to make a scanty meal of tea and hastily-kneaded cakes of flour.

The servants who had accompanied us from the plains looked in these emergencies the very images of despair; they were completely at fault, knowing not what to do in so unaccustomed a difficulty, and feeling perfectly incapacitated from the effects of the frost, which seemed to shoot bolts of ice into their hearts, and to freeze the very current in their veins. It was impossible not to sympathize with them in their distress, as we lay upon the cold ground, and recollected how active these men had been during the burning-hot winds, which peeled the skins from our faces, and obliged us to take shelter under the leather aprons of our buggies from its scorching blasts, whilst respiration seemed to be on the very eve of suspension. If we found the cold difficult to endure, how much more sensibly must it affect people who, habituated to heat which affords to Europeans very lively notion of a dominion which must not be named "to ears polite," bask delightedly in the beams of a sun which heats the earth like a furnace, and to whom in the most sultry weather a fire never appears to be unacceptable.


This pretty and picturesque village is distinguished for the remarkable height and luxuriance of a species of larch, which botanists designate as the pinus deodora. The group represented in the accompanying engraving affords a good specimen of the character of this fine tree, which attains an almost incredible height in some parts of the hill-districts; the tallest of those delineated, measuring one hundred and sixty feet, while very good authorities assert that some are to be found a hundred and eighty feet in height.

The Choor mountain, from its great altitude and peculiar situation, presents every variety of vegetation which these mountainous regions afford, and it is scarcely necessary to proceed further, in order to make ourselves acquainted with the leafy products of the hills. The bases of the mountains are carpeted with flowers, anemones and ranunculuses mingling themselves with the violet, the cowslip, and the daisy, while the forest scenery