Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/137

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at Simla, and he could supply the whole station with beer, butcher's meat, poultry, butter, and cheese. Pickling, preserving, and confectionary might be carried on upon a large scale; the candles and lamps supplied from the oil and wax which the hills produce in abundance; and when the visitors quit the station, which is usually about November, the return taking place in March, the winter months might be very profitably employed. Wax, honey, cherry -brandy, preserves of all kinds, the skins of the numerous wild animals properly prepared, shawls, which may be purchased great bargains, and the soft, light, warm, excellent blankets made from the coarser portions of the wool of Thibet, would, with many other articles, prove excellent investments for sale upon the plains, Labour is cheap, and there would be no difficulty in procuring the services of excellent cabinet-makers from Bareilly, or other towns in India, to manufacture furniture upon the spot. The same plan might be adopted at Mussooree with equal advantage; billiards and reading-rooms forming a portion of the establishment, while a garden, carefully attended by a regular resident, would be equally profitable with the nursery grounds of England. The hill-stations are rapidly increasing in size; and families intending ultimately to build, would gladly put up in the first instance at an hotel, while, until their gardens and farm-yards had considerably progressed, they would seek their supplies from the general provisioner. In a climate so healthy, employments so exciting, and such constant communication with strangers arriving from distant places, the occupations of a family keeping an hotel at Simla must necessarily be exceedingly beneficial to both body and mind; while, as a matter of course, if conducted on a liberal scale, and for moderate profits, they would speedily lead to wealth.

Simla boasts a theatre and assembly-rooms, and is often, when visited by the rich and the fashionable portion of the Company's civil and military servants, the scene of great gaiety. During the sojourn of Lady Barnes and Lady Bryant, a fancy-fair was held in a romantic glen, named Annandale from the lady who first graced its solitude. The talents of both ladies and gentlemen were put into requisition to furnish drawings, and fancy articles of every kind, while there were many goods for sale, for use as well as ornament; the proceeds being collected in aid of a native school, to be established at Subathoo, for the purpose of affording mental instruction, needle-work, and other useful arts, to the female Ghoorka children; a boy's school at the same place having been found to answer. A fete of this nature seemed particularly adapted both to the features of the scene, and the talents of the subordinates employed: native genius always appearing to great advantage in the open air, tents were pitched amid the pine-groves of this romantic spot, and the interiors spread with productions of great taste and elegance, drawings and sketches of the magnificent scenery around, forming a very appropriate contribution. The most interesting, however, of the numerous objects of interest, was a profusion of garlands, wreathed of the flowers of the Himalaya, and brought to the fair by the first class of the boys of the Subathoo school, attended by the old Gooroo, their superintendent. These were offerings of gratitude to the ladies who had so benevolently sought to extend the advantages of instruction to the whole of the native community, whether male or female, who were so fortunate as to be within the circle of their influence. Between seventy and eighty pounds were collected, very high prices having been cheerfully given for the articles put up for sale, the drawings especially being in great demand.