Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/131

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is rich and luxuriant to the highest degree. The rhododendron, with its profuse and superb scarlet blosoms, is succeeded by oak, walnut, birch, elm, and lastly pines, for the highest of the two peaks being covered for a considerable period of the year with snow, is destitute of verdure; and the second, composed of immense granite blocks, is also bare of trees. Where the snow had melted, it revealed stunted shrubs of juniper and currant, and a little lower down, at an elevation of eleven thousand five hundred feet, the most splendid pines in the world rear their majestic heads. The ferns of these ranges are peculiarly beautiful, and in great variety, while fruit of every kind abound; and the appearance of a species of bamboo at an elevation of seven thousand feet, affords reason to believe that many of the products, now exclusively confined to the plains, might be cultivated with success.

We only observed two species of monkeys, but they were exceedingly numerous; one a magnificent lungoor, the other the common brown monkey. The first is upon a much larger scale, and decidedly superior to the lungoor common to many parts of Hindostan. His face is extremely black, and he has a fine wig of silvery white hair to contrast with it. The rest of the body is nearly pure white, with dark fore and hind legs, and, when standing upright, may at a distance be taken for one of the human denizens of these hills. He is a fearless and powerful beast, condescending perhaps just to give the wall to his biped superior; and, if attacked, especially when backed by his companions, proving a very formidable adversary. These lungoors have all the fantastic tricks of their race, and, in the dearth of other occupations, their antics afford considerable amusement. Monkeys, though not objects of veneration in these hills, are tolerated, notwithstanding the mischief which their depredations occasion to the husbandman. Large troops are continually to be seen in the cornfields, and the crops, never too abundant for the wants of the people, must suffer very serious diminution from the reckless nature of the havoc committed.

Emulating monkeys in the rapidity of their motions, the flying squirrels dart down from the branches of the trees, and skip about with astonishing agility. The species is numerously scattered throughout the hills, and some attain a very large size; their fur is a pleasing colour, and as soft as velvet, and will probably, when the value of the hill-products become better known, be sought after as an article of commerce. The otter, though not numerous, is found in the mountain-streams; one caught in the Pabar was nearly white, and much smaller than the common kind. The game as well as the fish have to contend with many enemies; and amid those which prey upon the former, is the pine marten, an animal armed with all the destructiveness common to the species in other parts of the world. We have seen them in small packs, and hence infer that they hunt in company. The more solitary depredator, the fox, a quadruped exceedingly deficient in what phrenologists term the organ of adhesiveness, is very plentiful upon these mountains; the wisdom imputed to the species, teaching it never to quit so secure an asylum, even for a flying visit to the Dhoon, where it would be inevitably hunted, though it prowls amongst the rocks immediately overhanging the valley. The fox of the Himalaya diners considerably from the beautiful little animal of the plains, whose delicate blue fur is so much in request at home. The mountain species is much larger in size, and though the colour varies, it is usually a reddish gray with dark occasional patches, nearly approaching to black; the brush, which is very handsome, is a foot long, and the fox itself generally measures three feet eleven inches in its entire length. It is a very fine creature, and, did the nature of the country permit, would doubtless occasion excellent sport. The Nimrods of the East vainly speculate upon the noble bursts which these foxes would afford to