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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Shot athwart the eddying flood


And

now Hammy must set to work and tidy it up; and oh! what lots of nice manure was floating about, all for nothing the cartload ... And so the primeval family felt better, and went back to the ark to tea, feeling almost cheerful, but rather lonesome.

Fortunately this great flood did little injury to life or limb. A certain amount of destruction of crops and other property was inevitable, but on the whole the loss was not so great as was at one time feared, and much was saved that at first seemed irreparable.

A well-known lady artist came near to giving the note of tragedy to the British community, and losing the number of her mess (to use a nautical, and therefore appropriate expression) by reason of a big willow tree, beneath whose shady boughs she had moored her floating studio. This hapless tree, having all its sustenance swept from beneath by the greedy water, came down with a crash in the night upon the confiding house-boat, and all but swamped it.

The cook-boat, occupied as usual by a pair of prolific Mangis and their large small family, was saved by the proverbial "acid drop"--the children crawling out somehow or anyhow from among the branches of the fallen tree.

The fair artist, having with shrieks invoked the aid of a neighbour, he promptly descended from his roof or other temporary camp, and helped her with basins and chatties to bale

out the half-swamped boat. The lady is now safely moored to the mudbank on the other side of the river where willow trees do not grow.

The whole bund is in a very unsafe state: it was raised three feet after the last flood, but its width was not increased correspondingly. Now that the water has fallen, great fissures and subsidences have appeared, and in many places large portions of the bank have fallen away, carrying big trees with them.

[1] Our pet name for Shikari Mark II., who reigns in the stead of Ahmed Bot, sacked for expensive inefficiency.

CHAPTER XIV

THE MACHIPURA

Wednesday, _September_ 27.--We left Srinagar yesterday, very sorry indeed to part from the many good friends we have made and left there. Truly Kashmir is a hospitable country, and we have met with more kind friendliness in the last six months than we could have believed possible, coming as we did, strangers and pilgrims into a strange land. Our consolation is that every one comes "Home" sooner or later, so that we can look forward to meeting most of our friends again ere very long, and recalling with them memories of this happy summer with those who have done so much to make it so.

Farewell, Srinagar! Your foulness and inward evilness were lost in the background behind your picturesque and tumble-down houses as we floated for the last time down Jhelum's olive waters, where the sharp-nosed boats lay moored along the margin or, poled by their sturdy Mangis and guided by the chappars of their wives and daughters, shot athwart the eddying flood, breaking the long reflections of the storeyed banks.

Past the Palace of the Maharajah, its fantastic mixture of ancient fairness and modern ugliness blending into a homogeneous beauty as distance lent it enchantment.

Past the temples, their tin-coated roofs refulgent in the brilliant sunlight; under the queer wooden bridges, their solid stone piers parting the suave flow of water into noisy swirl and gurgle.


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