Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/135

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be seen climbing to the summit of a tall tree, and mingling the profusion of its perfumed flowers with the dark foliage of the larch. Fruit is abundant, but the quality requires the improving hand of cultivation; pears and apples inhabit the deep glens, and would doubtless, by transplantation and grafting, be rendered very superior to their present condition; in their wild state they are hard and tasteless. At Mussooree, an English apple-tree having been successfully introduced, has already furnished several grafts. This plant came from Liverpool, and proved the only one which survived the long journey to the upper provinces of India, whence being transferred to the hills, it was preserved from the heat and rains of the plains, which are found to be so destructive to European plants. This single apple-tree cost upwards of seventy pounds before it was planted in the botanic garden at Mussooree, where it flourishes luxuriantly, and will in all probability be the means of bringing its congeners of the hills to perfection. The walnuts are excellent and abundant, and the peach and apricot, being cultivated in the villages, are of good quality; these, together with the strawberries, form a very acceptable dessert. Extremely fine grapes are imported from the countries beyond the Sutlej; and the bazaar is very well supplied with mangoes, oranges, and plantains from the plains. It has not been thought advisable hitherto to shock the prejudices of the natives by slaughtering beef in the hills, and butcher's meat is therefore confined to mutton and pork, the station being indebted to the political agent of Subathoo for the establishment of a piggery. A difference of opinion exists respecting the comparative excellence of the mountain mutton, free to browse on the grass that clothes the thymy hills, and the gram-fed sheep of the plains; and where high authorities disagree, it is very difficult to determine: game is of course abundant; but there was at first some difficulty in raising domestic poultry, which became diseased and blind; doubtless, this inconvenience will in future be obviated.

The abundance of game at Simla has been disputed by sportsmen of great authority; but the disappointments of which they complain, were in all probability the results of imprudence arising from their want of acquaintance with the right way of going to work: determined sportsmen have found it possible to employ dogs with success, and they enjoy opportunities of woodcock-shooting which can never be gratified in the plains. Dogs are frequently essential in getting up the birds, the woodcock can very seldom be flushed without them, for on the beaters coming down a nullah, the game will run up the bank unperceived, and will of course elude them, but the dog, which of necessity accompanies the beaters, immediately acknowledges the scent, and when the bird stops, comes to a point: some descriptions of pheasant can scarcely be made to move by the beaters, who have been known to pitch large stones into a bush where a dog had come to a point, without getting them out; the dog has been blamed, when, behold, the moment the disappointed party have turned away, out would scud three or four birds, running and threading the jungle like hares. Other descriptions of game-birds are more easily attainable with dogs, and the dog is indispensable in securing birds which on being shot have fallen into thick jungle. The pointer suffers considerably from his rough encounters with thorns and jungle, and therefore should be well fed, carefully treated, and hunted only two days in the week; if proper attention be paid to him, he will thus be enabled to keep the field during the whole season. It is also very necessary to maintain a vigilant eye over our canine favourites at Simla, when not employed in the chase, for the hyena and the leopard are their deadly enemies; the former prowls about at night, and will sometimes in the dusk of the evening rush at a solitary dog, and walk off with him with the greatest ease, occasionally carrying one away from the very door of a European dwelling. The leopard will make the attack in open day, and when pursued, these animals manage to