Distress in the Himalayas






'A singular scarcity of men prevails this year
at most of the Hill Stations of Upper India;
owing to the number of men who have taken
leave to England or Kashmir—Newsletter.'



There's wailing on the Camel's Back;'
There's grief on Simla Mall;
Blank horror thrills the Murree Hills
And broods o'er Naini Tal!
The dances stop; the dinners drop;
The blatant bands are dumb:
The maidens wait disconsolate
For men who never come.

The 'rickshaws run—none run beside,
Uncavaliered they go;
The only mails (Her Majesty's)
Accentuate their woe.
Ah ha! they scorned our simple worth
In other, livelier years;
Come, let us mock their misery,
And gloat upon their tears!

Go, ask the bounding barasingh
Where are your partners gone!
Speak to the flying P and O,
Or Thomas Cook and Son!
They hunt another quarry now,
The men whose loss you grieve;
For half of them are in Kashmir
And half at Home on leave.

For six short weeks each rover seeks
A broader, bustling Mall—
A cool, electric-lighted Ind
Behind the Albert Hall.
What is the scent of deodars-
The bray of G– ldst– n's band—
To odours dear of London smoke,
And tumult of the Strand?

They will return, I know them well,
But you must eke till then
A semi-torpid season out
With 'boys' and aged men.
The rawest thing in uniform,
The rowdiest in check,
Shall save your dance from breaking down,
Your picnic from a wreck.

Go up, bald-headed patriarchs!
Time brings again your chance;
A dado of sweet wallflowers
Is withering for a dance.
Fly, flaxen-headed innocence!
Flirt while your Fate allows;
The Law is kind and does not bind
A minor to his vows.