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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

I again sent for the Tehsildhar


The

march of about thirteen miles from Kitardaji to Baramula is fine--the views of Nanga Parbat in the early hours, before the sun's full strength cast a golden glow over the distance, were magnificent, and long we lingered upon the last ridge, gazing over the great valley, ringed with its guardian mountains, ere we sadly turned our backs for the last time on the scene, and wended our way downward to Baramula and our boats.

Kashmir seems to be as difficult to get out of as to get into! What was our amazement and disgust to find neither landau nor ekkas, nor, apparently, any chance of getting them!

Baramula was in a ferment, and wild confusion reigned because the Viceroy, having somewhat suddenly determined to come to Jammu, the Maharajah and all his suite, together with the Resident and his belongings, were to start down the road at once, and all transport was commandeered by the State. Here was a coil! Officers innumerable, who had stayed in Kashmir until the limit of their leave, were struggling vainly to get on, and had got to Baramula only to find all transport in the hands of the State officials. Some few had, by fair means or foul, got hold of an ekka or two and hidden them; others had seized ponies, but nothing to harness them to. A few of the younger men set forth on foot, and others had their servants out in ambush on the roads to try and collect transport.

It was most

important that we should get on, as Hesketh had to be in Pindi to go before a medical board on the 14th, in order to be invalided home to England; and as he was most anxious to catch a steamer sailing on the 25th, he had no time to spare.

I telegraphed to Sir Amar Singh for authority to engage ekkas, and I sent for the Tehsildhar of Baramulla to complain of my ekkas being taken. He appeared in due course--a somewhat pert little person--who promised to do what he could, which I knew would be nothing. A farewell dinner on board Walter's ship concluded a fairly busy day.

_Saturday, October 7_.--A strenuous day, to say the least of it. Sir Amar Singh most courteously met my wishes, and himself directed the local authorities to assist me. Armed with this power, I again sent for the Tehsildhar, who promised many ekkas, but appeared to have some difficulty in fulfilling his promises. I spent the forenoon in hunting transport, sending out my servants also in pursuit. The Tehsildhar produced one ekka with great pomp, as earnest of what he could and would do later on.

During the afternoon the landau turned up from Srinagar, and at 6 P.M. one of my myrmidons rushed in to say that two ekkas had arrived at the dak bungalow.

It was but a few yards away, and in a couple of minutes I was on the spot. The ekkas had come up from Pindi, and the sahib who had lured them to Baramula seemed astonished at my method of taking them over. In an uncommonly short while the ekkas were parked, with the landau, close to the boats and under strict watch, while all harness was brought on board my dounga, just in time, as native officials of some sort romped up and claimed the ekkas, and threatened to beat my servants. It was explained to them gently, but firmly, that if they touched my ekkas or landau they would taste the waters of the Jhelum. We were then left in peaceful possession.


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