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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
The Snowy Giants of Himalaya—An Attack by a Bear.

THE first few days at Pratapnagar are days of delightful discovery
and pleasant realization, I explore my environment in an unmeth-
odical carefree manner, content to find that Nature can be so
beautiful and man's improvement upon her so comfortable.

No monsoon makes its unwelc une appearance during these days.
The sun shines in so disarmingly brilliant a manner that it is hard to
believe any monsoon could ever put in an appearance. My move to
this^place, however, is a wise one and my earthly life takes on a fairer
face. Many of those little comforts which combine to make up the
amenities of civilized existence, and which I lacked before, reappear
here. True, we have no electric light, no running taps, no motor
roads, no streets and no shops, but we have quite enough for a
decent quiet existence* And even if those five things are absent, the
corollaries which generally accompany them—noise, nerves, political
agitation, riots and rumours of war—are equally absent and, so far
as I am concerned, may easily be dispensed with. No traffic hoots
and toots past my door, no telephone bell rings every five minutes.
The news in the gazette which comes by post has already been for-
gotten by all the other readers when my eyes first light upon it, and
perhaps may just as well be forgotten as soon as I read it. Nor do I
have to pay for the happy privilege of hearing countless noises
coming over the ether under the name of jazz. In short, I ought to
praise Providence for her kindly company, which persists even here
among the wild mountains of Asia, let alone among the wilder towns
of Europe!

I find myself above the clonds surrounded on every side by the
lofty ranges and ridges of Himalaya, as in my former abode. But
here there are beautiful valleys upon which one can gaze, whilst a
lovely flower-garden runs from my house to both sides of the ridge
upon which it sits astride. Towards the south stretches the biggest
valley of all, along whose deep bottom gurgles the silver line of the
turbulently flowing Bhagirathi river. Its lower slopes are covered
with pretty green verdure, whilst a little agricultural cultivation,
where mountain meets water, appears as yellow patches inlaid
amongst the green.

Forests of oak and pine-trees are but a stone*s-throw away, I had