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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Ascend Apharwat by the funicular railway


I

had got _no_ further in my _magnum opus_, when I unfortunately showed my notes to Colonel--well, I will not mention his name, but he is the greatest authority on the birds and beasts of Kashmir. He besought me to spare him, pathetically remarking that I should cut the ground from under his feet, and take the bread out of his mouth, and the wind out of his sails, if I went any further with my monograph on the Hoopoe. He saw at a glance that I was conversant with authorities whom he had never consulted, and possessed a knowledge of my subject to which he could hardly aspire, so I gracefully agreed to leave the field to him, and relinquished my _magnum opus_ in its very inception.

One of the chiefest charms of Kashmir, and one which is apt to be overlooked, is the entirely unspoilt freshness of its scenery. No locust horde of personally-conducted "trippers" pollutes its ways and byways, nor has the khansamah of the dak bungalow as yet felt constrained to add sauerkraut and German sausage to his bill of fare--for which Allah be praised!

The world is growing very small, and the globe-trotter rushes round it in eighty days. The trail of the cheap excursionist is all over Europe, from the North Cape to Tarifa, from the highest Alpine summit (which he attains in comfort by a funicular railway) to the deepest mines of Cornwall. Egypt has become his footstool, and the shores of the Mediterranean his wash-pot. Niagara

is mapped and labelled for his benefit, and the Yosemite is his happy hunting-ground. He "does" the West Indies in "sixty days for sixty pounds," and he is now arranging a special cheap excursion from the Cape to Cairo. "But," it may be remarked, "what were Jane and I but globe-trotters'? and am I not trying to sing the praises of Kashmir with the avowed object of inducing people to go out and see it for themselves?"

By all manner of means let us travel. Far be it from me to wish folks to stay dully at home, while the wonders and beauties of the wide world lie open for the admiration and education of its inhabitants.

But there are globe-trotters and globe-trotters. My objection is only to those--alas! too numerous--vagrants who cannot go abroad without casting shame on the country which bred them; whose vulgarity causes offence in church and picture-gallery; who cannot see a monument or a statue without desiring to chip off a fragment, or at least scrawl their insignificant names upon it.

From these, and such as these, Kashmir is as yet free; but some day, I suppose, it will be "opened up," when the railway, which is already contemplated, is in going order between Pindi and Srinagar, and cheap excursion tickets are issued from Berlin and Birmingham.

Here is a specimen page of the Guide Book (bound in red) for 19--(?):

"Ascend Apharwat by the funicular railway. The neat little station, with its red corrugated-iron roof, makes a picturesque spot of colour near the Dobie's Ghat. Fares, 4 an. 6 pi., all the way."

"A local guide should on no account be omitted (several are always to be found near the station leaning on their khudsticks, and discussing controversial theology in the sweet low tones so noticeable in the Kashmiri). See that he be provided with a horn, to the hooting of which the Echo Lake will be found responsive."

"From the balcony of the * Hotel Baloo an unrivalled view of Nanga Parbat should be obtained. Glasses can be procured from the anna-in-the-slot machines which are dotted about."


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