But the valley of Nepaul, and the wild mountains of Ghorka, and the dashing rivers and the rocky glens, all sank into insignificance when I returned once more irresistibly fascinated by the wonders which the snowy chain seemed to exhibit anew every moment, as clouds cleared away from off the frightful precipices, or laid bare huge craggy peaks: For an hour did I gaze upon this incomparable scene, as upon one which the experience of a lifetime can seldom boast, for, though I was prepared by an alpine experience in Europe, and had stretched my imagination to the utmost in my anticipations of what would be the appearance of the highest mountains in the world, I could never have conceived—far less is it possible for me to describe—the scene I beheld from the summit of Sheopoori.
A visit to the Minister’s brothers—Dexterity of Colonel Dhere Shum Shere—Scenes for lovers of the Fancy—Adieu to Nepaul—The view from the summit of the Chandernagiri pass—The scenery of Nepaul—The pass of Bhimphede—Night quarters.
It was out of the question my leaving Katmandu without paying a farewell visit to the Minister’s two younger brothers, Juggut and Colonel Dhere Shum Shere, so I hurried over in the afternoon to their house, which was situated in the centre of the town. On my road I met them driving in a buggy, the only one of which the town could boast, and, as it is not considered infra dig. in Katmandu to go three in a gig, I jumped in between them, and we were soon tearing along the narrow street at a most reckless pace, and finally pulled up in a small square, where a great crowd seemed to be waiting for something to take place. A Katmandu crowd doubtless possesses the same instinct in this respect that crowds in civilized parts of the world do, and, as it proved, they were quite right in their expectations, for the exhibition which almost immediately followed was well worth seeing. The Colonel said he had something to show us, but we could perceive nothing out of the common except a huge bull buffalo, whose head was firmly lashed to a stake fixed in the court-yard, so that it touched it from his forehead to his nose; he was then blindfolded, his legs were planted some distance apart, and he stood snorting at his confined position. Meantime we had jumped out of the buggy, the young Colonel, stripping himself of all superfluous clothing, had grasped a “korah,” or native sword, and, first laying the keen edge of it gently upon the exposed neck of the buffalo, he drew himself to his full height, and raised his korah high above his head. Every muscle extended, every fibre strained, he seemed to concentrate his strength in a wonderful manner into that blow which was at one stroke to sever the extended neck of the buffalo. Down came the sword with sweeping force. I looked eagerly for the result; when suddenly his hand was arrested midway, and with a