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ROODING GAM, of the Meezhoo Mismees, who has just mar. ried a daughter of one of the three l'aeen brothers, has undertaken to conduct me in safely to the Lama country; but I am given to understand, that his power to do so is doubtful, and that it will be better to secure the personal attendance of one of the Taeens, in order both to insure having intelligence of what is going on, and by making him run the same risk with ourselves, to cause alarm to the Meezhoos, of the vengeance of his tribe, should they intend us evil.
OCTOBER 29TH & 30TH.-Halted in hopes of collecting some rice, but was disappointed. It is also very annoying, that Ghaloom has lamed himself, and cannot accompany us as intended; he promises however to follow, should his foot get better. My Brahman is in the same condition, and I shall now be without a servant.
OCTOBER 31st.-In search of rice we marched to Khosha's (the second brother); the path leading over two hills: we found him very reluctant to part on any terms with this precious article, however on being reminded, that his behaviour was an ill return for the presents twice received from me, he agreed at a large price to let me have a little rice and some Indian corn. We tried to persuade him to go on with us, but he was too much interested in building a new house to assent, yet he offered that his son should go, to shew his. confidence in Rooding.
The Loory Gohayn's village was nearly surprised a few month's since, by a party of Meezhoos, and was saved by the accidental discharge of a gun late in the evening, for the object was plunder, and not to fight, and supposing an alarm had been given, they decamped. The Khamtees have since stockaded their principal houses, and kept watch, but their fears are still so great, that they express much anxiety about our progress.
NOVEMBER 1st.-Khosha made good his promise, and in a manner more handsome than expected, for together with his free gift and purchases in exchange for a few seers of salt, I have got six days' provisions, and we resolved to proceed. We marched to Nuebra's house on the opposite hill, and were occupied nearly three hours in crossing the hollow ; the horizontal distance must be little, for better eyes than mine plainly distinguish the stakes of Khosha's new building. Nuebra killed a large bog, and presented a few seers of rice, for which he received a pair of large silver ear-rings. He is very officious about my journey, and asserts that with Rooding, they together can effect all I wish, which I much doubt : they say that the presence of any of the Taeens, is quite unnecessary. This hill and that we descended from, rise from the Loong, towards the N. in steppes, and are well cultivated.
NOVEMBER 2ND.-In the morning Khosha returned home after engaging to follow us to Rooding's, should Ghaloom remain unable to attend.
He did not leave his son as before agreed to, and I was now without any of their tribe, nor had I a proper interpreter. I found one of my own people acquainted with the Merzhoo language, and desired him to keep his peace, and reserve his information for time of need, to listen to what was said and mention it, should he discover any unfair play, but the fellow could not hold bis tongue. As I know nothing of the people we have to deal with, and the Loory Gohayn is so much better informed, I was decided by his arguments once more to return, to try, to make some better arrangement, to see Kheersong should he have returned from his martial expedition, and arrange with him as we first intended. I was also lame from a sprain, and afraid of a long march.
We accordingly went back to Khosha's, and I was glad to perceive that our doing so, gave him some concern, and that I should no longer be put off or deceived with promises, however in the course of the day we heard that Ghaloom had actually set out by another path to join us.
Made some trivial purchases of rice.
NOVEMBER 3RD.-Halted on account of my lameness, and I submitted to the application of a Khamtee medicine, said to be a specific, but without any beneficial effect. It was the gall of the Boa Constrictor, which was applied after the skin had been slightly cut with the blades of a coarse grass.
NOVEMBER 4TH.-Moved, because the strength of my party makes it rather hard upon the villagers to feed them, though divided according to custom, two or three in each house. I was taking an easier path Southwards to the Loong, while the coolies went by Nuebra's, to bring on the rice left there. On the borders of the Loong we passed through a strip of level ground, covered with thick bamboo jungle. Waited three hours for the people who had gone the more difficult path, and halted in the stony bed of the Loong. My sentries were posted by the Loory Gohayn, as if danger were to be apprehended. Our trouble in going to Nuebra's, seems to have been simply occasioned by his wish to establish a claim to a return, by presenting me a hog; since now that that affair is over, a much better path has been shewn to us.
The rocks on the descent were gneiss and mica slate. I may here mention that near to Ghaloom's, there is in a ravine, a white mud, which the cattle resort to and eat in large quantities, I suppose for its saline qualities, though I could not discover any salt taste : it is found only in one spot, and near it clay slate, with numerous imbedded crystals of iron pyritęs.
NOVEMBER 5TH.-Moved up the Loong, either over the large stones, or sometimes by a better path through fields and jungle. The high hills on both banks, are spotted with cultivatiou towards their tops. Passed two cane Sakoos; after crossing the Thumé, mounted a hill of considerable height, and moved 4 furlongs on its E. face to Mosha's. His house is large and judging from the long row of sculls within it, he is a wealthy man. He gave a hog, and hinted that if invited, he should be happy to go on with us. I begged that he would do so, and making an adequate return for his hog, I told him that I should be more liberal, if I found him of service to me.
This man is reputed to have been one of the leaders of the party before alluded to, who went with intent to plunder the Loory Gohayn's village.
NOVEMBER 6TH.-We commenced early our laborious ascent up a high mountain, either climbing directly up the face, or gradually ascending on ridges, the view entirely shut out in every direction by the tree jungle. On emerging in a more open spot we enjoyed a sight of parts of Asam and the Brahmaputra, with the peaks behind us, but to the North, the clouds much to my annoyance, prevented a view of the peaks, by which I had expected to correct my route. As we ascended, the increased cold was sensibly felt by all. I demanded the Thermometer to note the temperature and alas ! I found it broken. From the top we enjoyed a splendid view over Asam. T,humat, heya which has been long towering above our heads, has now dipped below the horizon, and the constrast of its mass to the perspective of the Brahmaputra adds greatly to the fineness of the scene. I sometime doubted whether a white line in the valley on the right, could possibly be the Di. kong, though there is no other River in that direction, of sufficient consequence to be visible. I recognized I thought the well known bend between Soonpore Mookh and Saddiya, yet it appeared much too near, and too far below us, but the continuation of the great River to the S. W. which was perfectly distinguishable removed all doubts.
I regret that this day the top of the whole line of mountains was enveloped in clouds, for I think that some idea might have been formed of the nature of the country up the Dihong, at least from this elevated spot we should have seen any high ranges in that direction.
The summit remains covered with snow, during the colder months; the trees are consequently of stunted growth, but low bushes abound; we found a very palatable berry of the size of a carrant, white, and when ripe of an azure blue color, without stones,
These were very grateful to us after a continued ascent of five hours without water. Descending a rugged ravine on the other side, we found the water rapidly accumulating from little rills in every direction, till near our halting place it formed a considerable stream.
NOVEMBER 7TH.-We resumed our tedious descent, the path bad, leading often over the trunks and roots of trees for support to the feet: it is frequently made past an awkward projecting rock by crossing and tying two small trees. Instead of granite which we had hitherto met with, we found towards the bottom, hornblende rock and greenstone. After arriving again at the So, which had now become a large and rapid Rivulet, we had to climb up a difficult precipice, the supports of wood frequent, and canes tied to hold to on ascent. We now inclined more to the Westward round the hill, and on issuing forth from the jungles, towards the Brahmaputra, were presented with a scene of a new character. The mountains rising immediately from the River, are many of them high enough to be capped with snow, their outline is varied and beautiful, and their aspect is more pleasing from the predominance of grass jungle or cultivation ; at their bases is a narrow strip nearly level, below which again the River runs in a deep chasm. On the slopes lie numerous large blocks of hornblende rock. Put up in Rooding's house there are but few houses near.
NOVEMBER 8TH.-Halted, and had a hog given us. Prime son, the Chief, who first gave me a description of the route joined
I could not get any thing settled for our proceeding, excepting that it would be necessary to send Mismees of my party on ahead to give information to one Dingsha of our intentions.
NOVEMBER 9TH.--I expected to start, but the Mismees resolve in Council, that it is advisable to give our advance couriers full time to hold a parley and ascertain, what reception we may expect; heard during the day that we are threatened by one Chief, who warns us to beware of the heaps of stones he has prepared to roll over the precipice. In the evening I endeavoured to come to an understanding with Rooding, as to the reward he is to have for conducting us, aud the time of payment which I would defer both to ensure his good faith, and because there appears reason to doubt whether he can fulfil bis promises. His demands were most exorbitant, so much so that my entire collection would not have sufficed, and he insisted on instant payment, observing that having the advantage of his great influence, I need not fear to exhaust my stores.
NOVEMBER 10TH.-In the morning I selected a largar present, than I had yet given to any other Chief, and begged Rooding to decide at once whether or not he would accept it, and give me his services. He minutely examined each article, returned one or two to be exchanged, which like a wise man he thought too fine for his purposes, and at last declined taking the whole unless I would add another coat. In this I could not afford to gratify him knowing that I should have to buy my way, and that the other Meezhoo Chiefs would be perfectly aware of the amount given to this man. Promises of a handsome reward in the event of success were of no avail, I therefore ordered the things to be packed up again, and set out intending if we could procure a guide, to go on to the village of Dunshon, a Chief of influence. But in the way I found that I should be deserted by the Taeen Ghaloom, and my other Mismee friends who were too much afraid of the Meezhoos to proceed, unless under what they esteemed safe conduct. I did not think it prudent or nécessary to give way with respect to increasing my present, however Ghaloon rather than suffer the disgrace of being compelled to return under such circum. stances, sent back to offer a coat which I had given him, or rather than not secure the attendance of Rooding, he was willing to give a Mithoon, (hill cow), which amongst these poor people bears a high value. Rooding now agreed to join us to-morrow,
I found that I was much deceived on the 7th, when looking down from a height over the narrow valley to the Eastward, I
sup. posed that our path would be far easier; it is true that the ascents and descents are trifling, but after passing the So, it is extremely bad on the slippery face of the hill. To day for the first time, I witnessed the mode of crossing by the cane Sakoo, wbile resting pear one. Three or four men passed in either direction, they were particularly careful in securing the loops to their bodies, and in such a way as to leave no fear of slipping, using two or three loops, each composed of a long cane coiled repeatedly over: the moment the man commenced his journey he seemed to have no choice of
pace, his weight causing sufficient inclination to make him slide pretty rapidly to the centre, whence on the contrary the labor of advancing seemed great, and to increase as he approached the opposite supports till between each hard tug he took a long rest. The length of the bridge is about 80 yards. We halted opposite the mouth of the Hullee, where the River has a wider bed, and is comparatively slow; I ventured to bathe in it, and found the cold intense. At à high altitude on the opposite mountain firs were in great abundance ; there were some also scattered on the lower part of the hills.
NOVEMBER 11TH.-We passed over more level ground in a direction S. of E. At 1 o'clock we left the Brahmapootra, and crossed some easy slopes free from tree jungle, and partially cultivated. Witnessed the obstinate attachment of the Mismees to their beer. Ghaloom left us to pay a visit to a Meezhoo on his invitation, promising to be back in one minute, but he kept us an hour in a shower, though messengers were repeatedly sent to call him.