It Has A Lowering Influence Upon One To Live
In A Fog Of Lies And Fraud, And The Attempt To Checkmate A Fraudulent
Asiatic Ends In Extreme Discomfiture.
I left Sonamarg late on a lovely afternoon for a short march through
forest-skirted alpine meadows to Baltal, the last camping-ground in
Kashmir, a grassy valley at the foot of the Zoji La, the first of
three gigantic steps by which the lofty plateaux of Central Asia are
On the road a large affluent of the Sind, which tumbles
down a pine-hung gorge in broad sheets of foam, has to be crossed.
My seis, a rogue, was either half-witted or pretended to be so, and,
in spite of orders to the contrary, led Gyalpo upon a bridge at a
considerable height, formed of two poles with flat pieces of stone
laid loosely over them not more than a foot broad. As the horse
reached the middle, the structure gave a sort of turn, there was a
vision of hoofs in air and a gleam of scarlet, and Gyalpo, the hope
of the next four months, after rolling over more than once, vanished
among rocks and surges of the wildest description. He kept his
presence of mind, however, recovered himself, and by a desperate
effort got ashore lower down, with legs scratched and bleeding and
one horn of the saddle incurably bent.
Mr. Maconochie of the Panjab Civil Service, and Dr. E. Neve of the C.
M. S. Medical Mission in Kashmir, accompanied me from Sonamarg over
the pass, and that night Mr. M. talked seriously to Usman Shah on the
subject of his misconduct, and with such singular results that
thereafter I had little cause for complaint.
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