A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS On the way I pass a curious sight. A coolie is carrying a lady in a queer conical'-wicker basket which is tied around his back. The passenger's husband walks behind. Both are pilgrims to some holy Himalayan shrine, although they have not taken the customary route. The lady is not infirm, but the labour of walking steep trails is too much for her. A mountain spring bubbles slowly across the track out of a rocky cleft in the massive wall of forest-covered slope. It creates a shallow puddle and then drops over the side of the chasm. The pony suddenly stops, drops its head to the ground, and thirstily sucks the puddle. Had I not sensed what it was going to do, I might easily have been tumbled out of the saddle again and down into the gaping ravine. But I take the precaution of dismounting in advance! From this point die trail keeps fairly horizontal and we move at a faster pace. Nevertheless, because of the winding nature of the country, we have to make considerable detours around the outside of peaks and the inside of valleys; no short cuts are possible. Fir trees Sourish hereabouts upon the mountain side and are held in the tight-coiled grasp of creepers which climb in spirals around their bark. Once I see a solitary rhododendron-tree ablaze with red blossoms, and again a few clustering stars of Bower- blooms. Eventually the sun begins its fated decline, the heat rapidly diminishes; a lustrous yellow pallor sinks over the landscape as the sky turns to transparent amber. Occasionally a gliding vulture and circling eagle sweep through the turquoise blue sky to their eyries. I notice how the vulture does not fly jerkily like other birds, but with movements exactly like those of an aeroplane. It balances flat on its wings and glides evenly up or down. Once I hear the cuckoo. Its call makes me think of spring's sure recurrence in Europe. Sundown brings a rapid change of colours. The peaks and crags of ethereal white which rise to the sky are now warmed by the waning beams into masses of coral and pink; but this is only tem- porary. The descent of the dying sun transforms the frosted silver of the snows from colour to colour, while suffusing the lower forest- covered ridges with saffron. The red drifts into gold and the gold returns once again to yellow. And when the final rays take their leave, the warm colourings also abandon the range and the snows assume a chalky whiteness. The pallor becomes more pronounced and ends in greyish-white. Sunset, alas, is but a short interval 'twixt day and night in the East, but these colourful moments are most precious* to me.