Tea planting in the outer Himalayah [book]

Alexander Thorburn. McGowan
1861 unpublished
f Carriers and drawers of water. J Tent pitcher. Horsekeepers. || A light bedstead made of string and bamboo. 8 TEA PLANTING IN that it did not reach Holta until a few hours before we ourselves arrived there. About the middle of the day, after a hearty lunch, having threaded the steep winding path, often consisting of a series of stone steps, that leads from our lofty habitation in the citadel to the outer gate, where the ponies were in readiness, we mounted and rode off, gingerly at first, for
more » ... gerly at first, for the road was strewed with large round stones, that, impelled by monkeys and feeding goats, roll down from the hill-sides. As the valley was reached, we mended our pace, and, in single file, galloped through the narrow winding paths, hedged in many places by the stubborn cactus or shaded by the plantain and tall bamboo. Now and then we passed through a village, and although we were evidently objects of curiosity, the inhabitants squatting in their doorways would only demonstrate their feelings by a prolonged draw at their hookahs. The women, mostly dressed in pegtop trousers, and wearing a large roll, usually of pink calico, that serves as head-dress, veil, and shawl, ran hastily away, often to the imminent danger of the pitchers of water on their heads, while others would sink into a heap on the ground in a manner most ungraceful to behold. Some, however, more bold, would pursue the even tenor of their way, taking particular care at the same time to cover their faces, but, with the curiosity that since the days of Bluebeard has been attributed to the softer sex, would leave their eyes unshrouded to watch the strange feringees. Now a brook had to be crossed ; the hill ponies carefully picked their way over the smooth, worn stones, and THE OUTER HIMALAYAH. 9 with straining heads attempted to drink the bright, black water. We hurried them through, and soon, high on a steep ascent, the rippling of the brook was lost in the sharp ringing of their hoofs on the hard road. We were now half way, and on the crest of a hill before us the white clothing of our syces was discernible. The steep ascent was soon gained, the saddles were quickly transferred from the tired to the fresh ponies, and we were ready for another start. The road now became steep and narrow, so we proceeded leisurely and had time to notice the surrounding scenery. High in the front, the snow-capped mountains reared their heads, towering above the adjacent hills ; their sides bare, rugged, and volcanic, but softened by the rosy tint from the setting sun, while the lower range, studded with the hardy fir and holly, where the sportsman finds the gooral,* bear, and leopard, with pheasants
doi:10.5962/bhl.title.30359 fatcat:gzob7cmyrfh5np3tft5yfquiki