THE plucky authoress of this handsome work makes no pretensions to give any scientific account of that portion of the Himalayas into which she penetrated; this, however, is the less to be regretted as, from a scientific point of view, much of the ground over which she passed has been rendered classic by Dr. Hooker. Her starting-point was Darjeeling, and the first portion of the work describes a pleasant preliminary trip which she and her husband made to the east as far as Dumsong. On returning from this outing, she, her husband F., and a friend C., accompanied by a small army of attendants, set out to penetrate, and if possible cross, the Eastern Himalayas. Their route was westwards by Mount Tongloo, and then almost directly northwards by Mount Singaleelah,the Dumgongla Pass, and onwards as far as the base of Mount Junnoo. The party took a large quantity of provisions with them, but depended upon a chief in the interior to supplement this supply about half-way. The chief failed them, and a guide whom they picked up on their route, after leading them all astray into a most inhospitable region, decamped, leaving them in a most perilous position. Happily, after much murmuring and danger of mutiny on the part of their attendants, they managed to extricate themselves without any loss or serious damage to anyone. Returning by the same route as far as Mount Singaleelah, the venturesome tourists turned eastwards and then southwards, along the Great Rungeet River, and so back again to Darjeeling, after a journey which, notwithstanding a lew hardships, all seem to have enjoyed immensely. Although there is no formal attempt to describe either the fauna, flora, or geology of the region passed through, the authoress's descriptions are so minute, and her references to the characteristic animal and plant life of the various stages so frequent, that the reader will have a fair notion of the general features of the line of march. The Lady Pioneer's artistic attainments are of a high order, and her sympathy with nature from this point of view intense; her descriptions are, moreover, so clear and intelligible, and the illustrations are so numerous and well executed, that the book from beginning to end is a delight. A marked feature of the work is the chromolithographs, creditable alike to the artist and printer, affording better than any verbal description an idea of the character of the unequalled Himalayan scenery. The invariable sweetness of the author's style, and we may say of her temper under all circumstances, and her strong sense of humour, add to the charm of her narrative. The reader may learn a great deal from her book about the country passed through and about the various classes and tribes of people she met and mixed freely with, for she is a shrewd observer of men and manners. One cannot help thinking, we may venture to say, that F., whom she dutifully brings to the front on almost every page, is a lucky fellow. As might be expected, there is a good deal of moralising under the awful influences of the “Abode of Snow;” perhaps too much of it, though this natural failing will be overlooked, considering the genuine attractions which the work possesses.
The Indian Alps, and how we crossed them; being a Narrative of Two Years' Residence in the Eastern Himalayas and Two Months' Tour into the Interior.
By a Lady Pioneer. Illustrated by herself. (London: Longmans and Co., 1876.)
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