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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT  IN  THE   HIMALAYAS

ceremony of paying off the bearers gone through. They are wiry,
well-knit little men belonging to the hill-tribes. They are remarkably
strong and sturdy. Coolies drawn from their class can carry a
hundredweight load on their backs day after day—not that I have
ever given them such an inhuman load, fifty pounds being their
average. Yet their diet is often nothing more than rice and parched
peas—and not much at that—with a little milk to wash it down.

One wonders how much meat and how many meals a day a
European porter would need to eat to support such work. My own
coolies have their chief meal in the morning, and only an extremely
light one later. These tough tribesmen can stand more heat and
cold, weight-carrying and height-climbing, than their slimness
suggests as possible.

I forestall their demands for baksheesh by giving them a sum which
silences their garrulous leader. They will have but a short sleep,
they tell me soon, and be off before dawn, taking the pony with
them.

My servant opens the bedrolls. Tired and dusty as we are,
unfamiliar with our location, we have no time to take further stock
of our surroundings but disregard all else and throw our bodies into
that mysterious yet ever-welcome condition which the world calls
sleep.