N.Y.) National Temperance Society (New York.

Baily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 9 online

. (page 3 of 51)
Online LibraryN.Y.) National Temperance Society (New YorkBaily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 9 → online text (page 3 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


to carry back any game I mignt km. After several hours' &g,
during which I traversed several likely-looking patches of ot^
forest without seeing anything but an occasional moonal pheasant,



Digitized by



Google



l864«] TO THE SOURCE OF THE GANGES. 1 5

which I would not fire* at for fear of disturbing other ^ame, just as I
was thinlring of making my way back to the tent, empty-handed, a herd
of five thaar was discovered browsing on the grassy slope of a little
ravine scmie distance below us. With the aid of my glass, I made
them out to be all males, with long shaggy hair streaming in the wind«
Having carefully marked the spot, which appeared extremely favour-
able for stalking, I made my people lie down, and, slinging my
second gun over my shoulder, commenced the descent, taking care to
keep well to leeward. Creeping noiselessly down, I succeeded in
gaining a long, low ridge which ran parallel to the hoUow in which
1 had marked them, and, looking cautiously over, there they were
still, unsuspectingly feeding not more than sixty paces distant
Selecting the one that appeared to have the finest horns, I took
a steady aim just behind the shoulder, and he dropped to the shot ;
my second bairel brought another fine fellow floundering on the ground
with a bullet through lus loins that passed out of the oppoute
shoulder. The three survivors, startled at the report of my rifle,
rushed forward a few paces, and then turned and stood, as if bewil-
dered^ giving me another fair double shot with my second gun. I
rolled over a third dead with a bullet through the neck, and broke
the leg of a fourth, which, however, went off at a good pace. Elated
with my success, I reloaded, and, leaving the game to be collected
by the coolies, set off in pursuit of the wounded animal. I was soon
on the trail, which, being plentifully sprinkled with blood, showed that
the quarry was hard hit, and I had no difficulty in following it up.
After a quarter of an hour's tracking, I came upon the wounded
thaar lying down in some low bush. He was so weak from loss of
blood that he could hardly stand, much more get away, for the bullet,
besides breaking his hind leg, had entered into the body; and I
despatched him with my hunting-knife.

Leaving one coolie in charge of the ^ame, and despatching the
other to the camp for assistance to carry it, I was strolling leisurely
along in the direction of our bivouac, when a fine male musk deer
started up from almost under our feet. I let drive right and left, but
missed with both barrels, when Chinear giving me my second gun, I
managed to roll him over with my third shot as he was bounding
away through the long grass. Musk deer-hunting is very pretty
^)ort, and the best practice the sportsman can have to test his shoot-
ing, as the game offers a very small mark and bounds along with
incredible swiftness. After taking out the nod, which must have
contained nearly an ounce weight of musk, Chinear slung the deer
over his shoulders, and we made the best of our way to the tents,
where we found the Doctor busily engaged in skinning and preserving
a beautifrd specimen of the argus, or homed pheasant, which he had
killed high up on the mountain. This was the only shot he had fired,
for although ne had seen a flock of several gooral, they were so wild
that he could not get near them. Towards sunset Fred returned,
having ^ed a fine old male thaar, and two musk deer, besides
wounding a bear, which escaped by taking refuge in a cave. After

Digitized by CjOOQIC



l6 A HUNTING EXPEDITION [NoVCmbcr,

dinner we all assembled round the camp-fire to discuss the events of
the day and our hopes for the morrow. Since that evening long
years have rolled, yet it is not forgotten. Four head of thaar
nagged in four consecutive shots made it a red-letter day in my
Calendar. Since then both my merry companions have passed away
on their last journey. Fred, as no doubt he would have best chosen,
for in fair battle his noble heart was stilled, and &ce to face with the
foe his strong arm fell nerveless ; whilst the Doctor, also cut off in the

fierformance of his duty, fell a victim to that insidious scourge of
ndia cholera. Yet the last of the trio, who has also battled against
the same chances, has been permitted to return, like a ship to its
old moorings, and after having been beaten about by all weathers
and the storms of many latitudes, is still to the fore, though not
unscathed by fire and shot, for the future to be laid up in ordinary, or
perhaps to remain close in shore. That night was one strongly
engrailed on my memory, for the Doctor told us, by snatches, of all
his wanderings and history, interspersed with many an anecdote of
man and beast, and it was not until a late hour that we thought of
turning in.

The next day we changed our camp, moving about three miles
towards the east face, which was said to be the best ground for thaar,
and here we remained four days enjoying fair sport, killing between
us three snow bears, eight thaar, five gooral, two burrul, seven musk
deer and a serow. After this, we descended the hill and returned to
Bengalee, where we halted a day to rest and prepare some of the
specimens, which we sent by a coolie to Fred's quarters at Dehra.
From Bengalee the river flows through a narrow gorge with steep

Erecipitous clifis on each side, and here a sure foot and a steady eye
ecome absolutely necessary, for the path was extremely rough, often
steep, and in some places wound so closely round tlie scarps of pre-
cipices as to render travelling dangerous. After crossing the
Kanoulec or Cedar Gadh by a sango, we had to clamber along a
narrow ledge cut out of the face of the cliff, with a fearful abyss
below, and the scarped rock above ; and scarcely had we surmounted
this difficulty, than we had to pass over sbakey plank platforms that
trembled under foot as we walked, and rickety flights of wooden and
stone steps, fastened to beams driven in fissures and crevices in the
rock, hanging several hundred feet above the river that was dashing
along its contracted narrow channel with an almost deafening roar.
Here the bed of the river in many places was strewn with huge
blocks of rock which had fallen from the clifis above, and some of
these were so large that they obstructed the course of the stream and
added not a little to the turbulence which the rapidity of its descent
necessarily occasioned. After some distance the valley opened out,
and we crossed and recrossed the Ganges several times, seeking the
most practicable paths. Four large mountain torrents, the Dangalee,
Dubrane, Loarnad, and Rindee Gadh, join the Ganges from the left
bank, and have to be crossed by sangos. Almost opposite the half-
ruined village of Sookree, which is situated on the right bank by the



Digitized by



Google



l864«] TO THE SOURCE OF THE GANGES. 1 7

aide of a ravine runmng down from the Eoinda-ke-Dhar mountain, is
a wooden bridge suspended on two overhanging rocks, and here the
ralley again contracts rather suddenly forming a narrow gorge, in
which there is only just room for the river to pass. After a four
hours' tramp, we arrived at the little village of Jhiua, whidi is situated
on the right bank at the foot of the Dhum-dhara range. — Distance,
fourteen milea

From Jhala, the course of the river, whidi up to this time had led
ahnost north, now took an easterly direction, and consequent upon
the increased altitude a great change was observable in the appear-
ance of the forest. Cedars, yews, cypress, cheel, morenda, and rye
pines, with underwood of red and black currant and raspberry bushes,
now took the place of oak, whilst the rhododendron appearea stunted
and small. The valley decreased in width as we aavanced, whilst
the clif& on each side became so precipitous that it required no great
stretch of imagination to conceive that at one time the sacred stream
must have burst, or riven asunder its subterranean bed and rent the
fissure in the solid rock through which it flows. Indeed, there were
jdaces where I fancied that I could even trace the same inclination of
strata on both &ces of the precipices, with prominences on the one
ade, and corresponding cavities on the other, which seemed to sub-
stantiate my theory that the mass had been rent b^ some violent con-
vnlsion. !poth my companions coincided with me m this opinion, and
the Doctor recalled to mind, and repeated Coleridge's admirable
simile on broken friendship.

* They parted — ne'er to meet again j

They stood aloof, the scars remaining.
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder.

A dreary aea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor firost, nor thunder.

Shall ever do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once had been.'

The diasm was extremely narrow in comparison with its depth, in
some places being less than forty feet in width, whilst the height of
the chfl& could not have been less than three hundred feet. It much
reminded me of that part of the Hinter Rhein designated, ' Das
* verlorenes Loch,' or the ravine of the Tamima, although it exceeded
either in its stem wild character. The sides of the ravine were
generally too steep and bare to sustain vegetation, yet in many
places they were furrowed by gullies and channels worn by mountain
torrents and snow streams, which were almost invariably clothed with
dark pine forest, and sometimes an elevated plateau oi' ledge, formed
by a projecting strata, covered with living verdure, would present the
appearance of hanging woods, and somewhat soften the stem severity
of the scene. As we were picking our way along a toilsome path en-
cumbered with debris of all kinds that had fidlen from above, the
villager who acted as our guide pointed out to us one of those
apparently inaccessible spots jutting out from the overhanging face
of the rock, some hundreib of teet above the bed of the river, that had

VOL. IX. — NO. 57. r^ T

Digitized by CjOOQIC



i8 A HUNTING EXPEDITION [November,

the appearance of having at one thne been tenanted by man, as
besides pines and a few lar?e cedars, I noticed a rowof cyppesB trees,
that looKed as if they had l)een planted at regular intervak. This
ledge he said had formerly been the retreat of a very holy Goseein,
who having devoted himself to the service of Mahadeo, became so
much disgusted with ins fdlow^men, that he attempted self-destruction
by throwing himself into the Ganges ; but the God whom he wop-
• shipped, taking the shape of a Brahminy kite, caught him as he fell,
ana Dope him to that ledge of rock, where he lived for many years on
food brouffht up to him by birds, until, havmg become purified by
penance, he was absorbed and incarnated in the divinity itself. Our
path, which was often very imperfectly indicated, lay for a consider-
able distance over tracts covered with loose rodts and angular
boulders, which appeared clean and sharp*edged, as if they had been
newly quarried, with scarcely a particle of intervening mould or a.
trace of vegetation ; and as we went along we firequenuy came across
hummocks and abrupt elevations, which owed their origin to land
slips from the clifis above. These chiefly take place in the cold
season, when the water (caused by the melting of the snows in ttie
summer months) that has penetrated into the fissures and crevices of
the cliflfe, becoming congealed by the frost, expands in volume, and
rends the live rock asunder with irresistible force, hurling masses
hundreds of tons in weight down the fece of the pregpice^ and
strewing the valley below with fragments and dSbris.

Continuing our way along the right bank below the snow-dad
Deo-goojar, we crossed the Mean-Gadh by a Sango where the gorge
opens out, and the Ganges divides into several shallow streams that
flow along a bed of shmgles and sand, and pasang the confluence of
the Ghoomtee and Hersula Gunga, which are separated from each
other by a narrow ledge of lofty rocks, we passed over to the left or
southern bank, forded the Keeree, and several other tributary streams
that take their rise among the high snow-covered mountains of the
Jaunli ran^, and after traversing a magnificent forest of deodars,
some of which were of gigantic proportions, halted at Derallee, whwe
our camp was pitched in an apricot orchard. — Distance, eight miles.
As this IS the highest village in the valley of the Ganges, we resolved
to make it a temporary base of operations, and left; our large tent
standing, and a portion of the people in charge of our heavier bag-
gage, which we had found extremely diflfcult to transport thus far.
Indeed, it was wonderfiil to see the little Puharee coolies get along
with their loads over such ground, passing as they did through rapid
mountain streams of ice^jold water, or across beds of tcwrents, slippery
rocks, perilous bridges, and steep descents without the slightest hesi-
tation. Here we visited three small temples as well as two extra-
ordinary six-storied houses, one in the village and the other on a
rock above, that were built by one of the earlier Teeree rajahs for the
accommodation of Brahmin pilgrims.

From Derallee, accompanied only by our shekairies, and eight of
tie coolies carrying two small hill tents and provisions, we wound



Digitized by



Google



l864«] TO THE SOURCE OF THE GANGES. I9

along the bed of the Ganges for some miles, |)a88ing throue^h mag-
mfioent cedar forests^ until we came to the junction of me Jad-
gunga or Jhannevie-Gadh, a tributary fiiUy as large as the sacred
stream itself, which takes its rise in the mountains of Thibet, above
NeiluDg, to the north east Both rivers run in deep, rocky gorges
diat appear to have been worn by the action of tiie water, and at
their confluence an immense lurecipitous cliff, fringed with verdure,
towers hi?h into the sky and overhangs bo^ streams. The view
from the bed of the river where we bamed, near the junction of the
streams, was singularly wild and grand. Just above tnis spot, at the
base of another steep descent, where the Ganges dashes down a chasm
of rock about forty feet wide, and perhaps a hundred and twenty deep,
is the shaky old bridge of Byramghattee, that was built by one of the
Tearee rajahs many years ago. After leaving this relic of ancient
days, a couple of hours' hard walking brought us to the confluence of
die Meanee-Gadh, a rapid mountain torrent, that takes its rise in the
Heanee^teeba range, the northern spurs of whidi form the lateral
hmks of the valley. From this point the ascent became very steep,
the river forcing its passage almost unseen in a succession of rapids
down a daik and narrow chasm, in many places more than three
hundred feet deep, that seemed to haVe l)een cleft in the solid rock
aloog the centre of a winding gorffe. On each side of this pre-
cipitous channel is a slope, varying from a hundred yards to half a
mile in breadth, well wooded with pine and cedar, whilst above this
again rise steep lateral clifis, fringed with pine and birch, that
for the most part were covered with snow. Aftersome hours' scram-
Uiog along a steep and tortuous track, during which time we crossed
many a deep water course furrowed in the sides of the mountain, we
eame to the junction of the Keedar Gunga (the first contributary
stream of any size that joins the Ganges) which takes its rise in the
lolly range to the southward. Here the sacred river glides over a
huge mass of rock forming a series of cascades, and above this the
chaimel widens, the gorge entirely disappears, gentle slopes clothed
with verdant woods come quite down to the waters edge, and the
stream is seen rolling swifUy over a broad bed of shingle.

On the right bank, about fifteen feet above the stream, upon a slab
^ rock (that is held to be sacred as the spot upon which Gunga
used to worship Mdhadeo) is a small unpretending square pagoda,
with melon-shaped roof, scarcely twelve feet high, surrounded by a
low wall of unhe?m stone. Although this insignificant-looking edi-
fice is scarcely to be seen until the traveller comes dose upon it, he
must not pass it by unheeded, for he now stands before the celebrated
temple of Gangoutrie, Uie holiest and most revered shrine of Hindoo
worship, and the supposed abode of the goddess Gunga or Bha-
giruttee, the spirit of the sacred Ganges. On entering the little
court-yard, that is paved with smooth stones taken from the bed^ of
the river, another small temple is seen, which is dedicated to Byramjee.
Both are said to have been built by the Goorkba chief, Ummer
Singh, when he subdued this part of tne country.

c 2

Digitized by CjOOQIC



ap A HUNTING EXPEDITION, ETC. [NoVCtnbcr,

Although, from its extreme inaccesfflbility, man has done so little to
mark a spot that is revered and considered holy by more than a
hmidred millions of his race, Nature has done much, and the utter
desolation and strangely stem wildness of the place is worthy of the
mysterious sanctity with which it is regarded ; indeed, it is scarcely
possible to descrilie the scene, or to convey an adequate idea of the
undefinable sensation of reverence that steals over the mind whilst
contemplating it. Scarped, overhanging cliffs, fringed with dark
pines, and splintered crags of fantastic shape, tower so nigh, that only
a small strip of sky is visible over head, and close up the view on
every ode, except towards the east where the five large peaks of
Rudroo-Himaleh rise, forming a semidrcular hollow down which &
huge glacier rolled. The appearance of this mountcun from Gan-
goutrie, as seen through the vista of the valley, was most striking,
lor it seemed like a mighty barrier of snow that closed up the head of
the gorge, whilst the contrast of its dazzling whiteness with the deep-
blue sky above, and the dark, stem difis on each side, gave it a
character almost artificial. In such scenes the mind often wanders
from the real to the ideal, and for the moment I fancied I was stand-
ing before some enormous stage, the proportions of which were so
immense, that nothing short of Titans, or the giants that fought
against Mahadeo could have played appropriate parts, nor was music
wanting to complete the simile ; for tne mshing of the torrent, the
roUing of the shingle on the bed of the river^ the murmuring of
cascades, which rose and fell as if the waters were advancing or
retiring, and the moumful sighing of the wind as it swept through
numerous rocky gorges, formed a strangely wild melody appropriate
to the sombre grandeur of the spene.

Our tent was pitched on a little clearing close to the river, and our

!)eople found shelter in one of the numerous caves excavated in the
ace of the rock for the use of pilgrims to the shrine. The head
Brahmin, induced by the offer of a few mpees, shewed us through
the temple ; but there was little to be seen in the Holy of Holies, we
great object of adoration being a small silver image supposed to
represent the goddess Gunga, before which a few oil lights are con-
tinually kept burning. Having satisfied our curio»ty, and distributed
our largess, we adjourned to dinner, after which we were present at
certain ceremonies and dances performed by our people and some
villagers to propitiate the spirit of the waters, and induce her to bring
good luck upon our expedition. Having finished our part of the
performance, which was to distribute a few mpees, we had an in-
teresting chat round the fire, and turned in for the night.

( To be continued. )



Digitized by



Google



1864.] A MOOT qUESTlON.



II



A MOOT QUESTION :

IS THERE ANY DETERIORATION IN THE ENGLISH RACEHORSE ?

* He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : he goeth on to meet
the armed men.
' He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted $ neither turneth he back from the

IWOTd.

' He saith among the trumpets. Ha, ha I and he smelleth the battle afar oiF, the
thunder of the captains, and the shouting.* — ^JoB, chap, xxxix.

' Bold Ericthonius was the first who joined
Four horses for the rapid race design'd.
And o*er the dusty- wheels presiding sat :
The Lapitae to chariots add the state
Of bits and bridles j taught the steed to bound,
TcL run the ring, and trace the airy round j
To stop, to fly, the rules of war to know,
T* obey the rider, and to dare the foe/

Dryden's Virgil, %rd Oeorgic,

If ever the fiiry of a religious zeal should reach us with the charge
of idolatry, the readers of * Baily ' may rest assured that it will be
for the worship of an English thorough-bred ; certainly not for that
particular animal which is sometimes playfully associated with the
county of Essex. We offer no apology for this occupation of space
— considering that in all important questions the Press becomes in a
measure the property of the public ; through its assistance matters of
&ct are made clear ; through the conflict of opinion nothing at length
remains but sound argument, and every man may in retirement
inform himself of the question upon whicn he may be required either
to form an opinion, or to found a resolution. Newspapers, though
powerful engines, have an existence ephemeral as the Mayfly j but a
volume becomes a sort of companion, and constantly invites perusal.
This is a solid reason for transferring a newspaper controversy to
the columns of a periodical, read by every gentleman in England
feeling an interest in * the fevourite sport of a great people.' The
minutest sparks in contact with combustibles are sufficient to de-
vastate a district ; so, seeming nothings have convulsed kingdoms.
Had John Hampden quietly paid the paltry sum of twenty shillings,
in all probability the country would have jogged on for another
century under tyranny and misrule, and in our opinion if that whining
petition had not been addressed to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, we
should not have been disturbed in our belief that for speed and stout-
ness in the race-horse we could confidently challenge the world ;
and, it may be, some radical defects in our racing system would
have remained unnoticed.

The letter from the Irish breeders and horse-dealers admits of the
following digest : ist. The deterioration of blood stock ; 2nd. The
pernicious influence of handicapping ; and 3rd. The important
results anticipated from an increase both in weight and distance in
the contests for K.oyal Plates. A churlish man might have referred
the petitioners to ^sop, to gather wisdom by a perusal of two of his



Digitized by



Google



22 A MOOT quESTioN. [Novembcf

most remarkable fables. The Irish breeder, in numerous instances,
tempted by foreign gold, destroys his future annual profits, by selling
his best brood mares. He rips open the goose for an immediate
golden realization, and in a dilemma caused by his own cupidity,
instead of striving to remedy the evil, he falls upon his knees and
implores the aid of Jupiter. But a sense of duty joined to a natural
courtesy impelled Sir Robert Peel to seek the opinion of Admiral
Rous, the highest racing authority ; and * The Times * condescended
to unlock its columns. The subject also came before the House in
a motion which at the time was deemed somewhat paradoxical, but
perhaps it was only intended to be the thin end of the wedge ; the
abolition of the present public grant for Royal Plates, that there
might be an augmentation of prizes under an improved system.
We refrain from any analysis of the various arguments which the
discussion provoked for two simple reasons — ^want of space, and the
determination to follow our own line of argument.

The first point — the deteriorated breed of horses in Ireland, thus
accounted for in the petition or letter, * owing to the carelessness
' with regard to brood mares likely to produce superior stock, and to
^ the dearth of good stallions ' — may be summarily dismissed as the
result either of shortsightedness, supineness, or parsimony* The
second point — ^ the pernicious influence of handicapping '—opens the
gates of discussion to a boundless plain of inquiry.

We have been called a nation of shopkeepers, and there is much
truth in this sarcastic summary. Racing is no longer a noble, nor a
national pastime* Its chivsdry has departed, and, with rare ex-
ceptions, there is no longer any glory in victory. Racing is a
matter of business.

It must be patent to every one who bestows a moment's attention
to the subject, that handicaps are the growth of unhealthy private
speculation, as affording the readiest and most extensive mode of
gambling, and as producing that feverish excitement without which
some mpen are scarcely reconciled to existence.

Hundreds of horses are kept in training upon the ofF*chance, that



Online LibraryN.Y.) National Temperance Society (New YorkBaily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 9 → online text (page 3 of 51)