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, 1831 -
The traveller who aspires to reach the highlands of Tibet from Kashmir cannot be borne along in a carriage or hill-cart. For much of the way, he is limited to a foot pace, and if he has regard to his horse, he walks down all rugged and steep descents, which are many, and dismounts at most bridges.
To a person sitting quietly at home, Rocky Mountain traveling, like Rocky Mountain scenery, must seem very monotonous; but not so to me, to whom the pure, dry mountain air is the elixir of life.
The word 'aloha,' in foreign use, has taken the place of every English equivalent. It is a greeting, a farewell, thanks, love, goodwill. Aloha looks at you from tidies and illuminations; it meets you on the roads and at house-doors. It is conveyed to you in letters: the air is full of it.
The Rocky Mountains realize - nay, exceed - the dream of my childhood. It is magnificent, and the air is life-giving.
Other lands may have their charms, and the sunny skies of other climes may be regretted, but it is with pride and gladness that the wanderer sets foot again on British soil, thanking God for the religion and the liberty which have made this weather-beaten island in a northern sea to be the light and glory of the world.
A traveller must buy his own experience, and success or failure depends mainly on personal idiosyncrasies.
Americans specially love superlatives. The phrases 'biggest in the world,' 'finest in the world,' are on all lips. Unless President Hayes is a strong man, they will soon come to boast that their government is composed of the 'biggest scoundrels' in the world.
Bugs are a great pest in Colorado. They come out of the earth, infest the wooden walls, and cannot be got rid of by any amount of cleanliness. Many careful housewives take their beds to pieces every week and put carbolic acid on them.
Above Hilo, broad lands sweeping up cloudwards, with their sugar cane, kalo, melons, pine-apples, and banana groves suggest the boundless liberality of Nature.
Can anything be more grotesque and barbarous than our 'florists' bouquets,' a series of concentric rings of flowers of divers colours, bordered by maidenhair and a piece of stiff lace paper, in which stems, leaves, and even petals are brutally crushed, and the grace and individuality of each flower systematically destroyed?
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Only the long melancholy call to prayer, or the wail of women over the dead, or the barking of dogs, breaks the silence which at sunset falls as a pall over Baghdad.
The 'Desert' sweeps up to the walls of Baghdad, but it is a misnomer to call the vast level of rich, stoneless, alluvial soil a desert. It is a dead flat of uninhabited earth; orange colocynth balls, a little wormwood, and some alkaline plants which camels eat, being its chief products. After the inundations, reedy grass grows in the hollows.
Grandeur and sublimity, not softness, are the features of Estes Park. The glades which begin so softly are soon lost in the dark primaeval forests, with their peaks of rosy granite and their stretches of granite blocks piled and poised by nature in some mood of fury.
Slavery, though under modifications which rendered it little more than the apprenticeship of our day, was permitted under the Mosaic dispensation; but it is contrary to the whole tenor of Christianity; and a system which lowers man as an intellectual and responsible being is no less morally than politically wrong.
The Malays have many queer notions about tigers and usually only speak of them in whispers, because they think that certain souls of human beings who have departed this life have taken up their abode in these beasts, and in some places, for this reason, they will not kill a tiger unless he commits some specially bad aggression.
The kimono, haori, and girdle, and even the long hanging sleeves, have only parallel seams, and these are only tacked or basted, as the garments, when washed, are taken to pieces, and each piece, after being very slightly stiffened, is stretched upon a board to dry.
One of the most marvelous features of Canton is the city of house boats, floating and stationary, in which about a quarter of a million people live and, it may with truth be added, are born and die. This population is quite distinct in race from the land population of Canton, which looks down upon it as a pariah and alien caste.
The Shat-el-Arab is a noble river or estuary. From both its Persian and Turkish shores, however, mountains have disappeared, and dark forests of date palms intersected by canals fringe its margin heavily, and extend to some distance inland.
The situation of Leh is a grand one, the great Kailas range, with its glaciers and snowfields, rising just behind it to the north, its passes alone reaching an altitude of nearly 18,000 feet; while to the south, across a gravelly descent and the Indus Valley, rise great red ranges dominated by snow-peaks exceeding 21,000 feet in altitude.
The Tigris is so fierce and rapid, and swallows its alluvial banks so greedily, that it is probable that some of the buildings described by the Hebrew traveller Benjamin of Tudela as existing in the twelfth century were long since carried away.
If one's memories of Baghdad women were only of those to be seen in the streets, they would be of leathery, wrinkled faces, prematurely old, figures which have lost all shape, and henna-stained hands crinkled and deformed by toil.
No house was so poor as not to have its 'family altar,' its shelf of wooden gods, and table of offerings. A religious atmosphere pervades Tibet and gives it a singular sense of novelty.
The breadfruit is a superb tree, about 60 feet high, with deep green, shining leaves, a foot broad, sharply and symmetrically cut, worthy, from their exceeding beauty of form, to take the place of the acanthus in architectural ornament, and throwing their pale green fruit into delicate contrast.
In Japan, the people preserve their temples for their exquisite beauty, and there are a great many sincere Buddhists; but China is irreligious: a nation of atheists or agnostics, or slaves of impious superstitions. In an extended tramp among temples, I have not seen a single male worshiper or a thing to please the eye.
Four hours after leaving Kornah, we passed the reputed tomb of Ezra the prophet. At a distance and in the moonlight it looked handsome. There is a buttressed river wall, and above it some long flat-roofed buildings, the centre one surmounted by a tiled dome.
Water is a beverage which I never enjoyed in purity and perfection before I visited America. It is provided in abundance in the cars, the hotels, the waiting-rooms, the steamers, and even the stores, in crystal jugs or stone filters, and it is always iced. This may be either the result or the cause of the temperance of the people.
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