zondag 24 juni 2012

William Henry Knight -- 25 juni 1860

June 25 [...] While accomplishing this latter movement, our guides detected two huge red bears, an enormous distance off, enjoying themselves in the evening air, and feeding and scratching themselves alternately, as they sauntered about in the breeze. Abandoning our present stalk, which was not promising, down we went again, and crossing about a mile and a half of broken ground, snow, rocks, &c., we reached a wood close to the whereabouts of our new game. F. and I, separating, had made the place by different routes, and just as I had caught sight of one enormous monster, F. and the shikaree appeared, just on the point of walking into his jaws. Having, by great exertion, prevented this catastrophe, we massed our forces, and taking off our hats, just as if we were stalking an unpopular landed proprietor in Tipperary, we crept up to within sixty yards of the unsuspicious monster, and fired both together. With a howl and a grunt, the huge mass doubled himself up, and rolled into the cover badly wounded. Being too dangerous a looking customer to follow directly, we reloaded and made a circuit above him; and after a short search, discovered him with his paws firmly clasped round a young tree. By way of finishing him, I gave him the contents of my rifle behind the ear, and we then rolled him down a ravine on to the snow beneath, where, a heavy storm of rain, hail, and thunder coming on, we left him alone in his glory. Putting our best legs foremost, we made for our camp, amid a pelting shower of hail like bullets and an incessant play of lightning around us, as we pushed our way along the frozen torrent. About five P.M., tired and drenched, we reached the camp, when we discovered that our tents, though extremely handy for mountain work, were not intended to keep out much rain, and that all our rugs, and other comforts, were almost in as moist a state as ourselves. During the entire night it continued to hail, rain, thunder, and lighten; and with the exception of the exact spots we were each lying on, there was not a dry place in the tent to take refuge in.

William Henry Knight -- Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet.
Captain William Henry Knight journeyed through Kashmir and Tibet in 1860 in the company of another officer and a porter. Having spent a year and a half in India with his regiment, Captain Knight had managed to obtain a six months' leave of absence in order to escape the hot season and journey through the cool foothills of the Himalayas. His goal in this volume was to represent "a faithful picture of travels in regions where excursion trains are still unknown, and Travelers' Guides unpublished." WILLIAM HENRY KNIGHT was a Captain in England's Forty-Eighth Regiment. This is his only known work.

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