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Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and The - Neighbouring Countries
by William Griffith
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Ilex very common, and much used for charcoal, the trunk being eight to ten inches in diameter; almost all are pollarded. Pomacea common at 500 feet above this, Plectranthus, Senecionoides.

Artemisiae, Astragali, Statices, Rosa, bastard indigo, Cerasus. The orchards are now assuming their autumnal tint, Salvia pinnata, Canus aliusque, Ruwash. Chough, ravens, nuthatch, and chakor here occur. Heavy snow is observed on the eastern portions of Hindoo-koosh, which are quite barren. The best way to the fir tract I find on enquiry will be to follow the bed of the stream up to it. Fields are being now ploughed and sown. Thermopsides very common here in old cultivation: it affords decent fodder for camels.

10th.—To Barikab, distance ten and a half miles; the road extending down the Tazeen ravine, over a tract with a considerable descent for about nine miles; on passing a long dark looking rock and its spur, the road then leaves the bed, and ascends over low undulations of easily detachable conglomerate, and sand; then a short but rather steep ascent occurs for 200 feet, passing over an easily friable sandstone, either existing as grains slightly adherent, or caked; thence the descent passes over the preceding sort of conglomerate, to an abominably barren ravine, drained by a very small stream.

The road only once leaves the bed of this ravine, but soon rejoins it before finally turning off.

The mountains present the same features; where no outcrop of strata occurs, they are rounded, brown, and very barren, with here and there an Ilex; towards the end of the raviny part in one or two places, more wood than usual occurs, forming scattered thickets. Fraxinus, the older branches of which have much smaller leaves, Thymelia of Chiltera, Cerasus canus, and alius, Senecionoides, Compositae, Artemisiae, Polygonum frutescens, which last is not uncommon throughout. Equisetoides becomes common towards the black rock.

Where the road turns off from the ravine, a Khubar or tope occurs, shaded with two or three large Xanthoxyleae now in fruit, called Khinjuk.

Snow visible from Barikab to the north, but generally in ravines. The country continues abominably barren, we passed the entrance of the Lutabund pass, near the black rock, but without seeing it: no difficulty occurs on the road, except from the jolting of stones. There is however no forage to be had at the halt, and but little fodder. A sprinkling of holly-looking bushes are seen extending over the lower ranges of Hindoo- koosh.

11th.—Jugdulluck, ten and a half miles from our last encampment; on leaving Barikab we commenced ascending, winding over undulating ground for a short distance, until we reached the main ascent, which is short, but moderately steep: thence we descended steeply for perhaps 500 feet, hitherto the road extended over sand hills, with quantities of stones. On reaching the foot of the steep descent, we then descended gradually over a long stony inclined plane, then entered undulating ground, descending from which the road took us over a small stream, which we followed up, soon entering a gorge, up which we continued till we reached Jugdulluck. This gorge is the finest and boldest we have seen, the rocks forming precipitous cliffs 2,400 feet high, which often hem in the road, and confine it to a breadth of a few feet, sufficient merely for a gun to pass.

On emerging from this we reached the tope of Jugdulluck, now a grove of mulberry trees, surrounded by the remains of a wall.

The country, until we entered the gorge, presented the same features as before, being frightfully barren. Passed a spring of water at the foot of the main descent where there is level ground sufficient for a small party, afterwards we passed a smaller spring containing less water, but situated in much better ground than Barikab.

The vegetation of undulated ground continues unchanged, very poor and stunted; in ravines below the main descent, Stipa is very common; in others, a large Andropogon occurs near the mouth of the gorge along the bed of the river, also Jhow in patches, and one patch of Donax.

The vegetation of the gorge is more varied; two small trees occur, one the Khinjuk, and it is the commonest, the other a Terebinthacea; Thymelaea of Chiltera is common, Ephedra, Ilex occurs but is less common than on hills.

Along the water to which it gives exit, and which is abundant, the usual Cyperaceae, Junceae, Gnaphalium, Potentilla, and Epilobium occur as at Cabul; the place is chiefly remarkable for two or three Saccharoid grasses, Stipa common, Polypogon, Donax, Dracocephala of Quettah and the Bolan pass, Spiraea, Typha, young Tamarisks.

Chakor, large vulture, ravens; a woodcock rose from a dripping rock, covered with a tropical Andropogon in dense patches. Adiantum, Rubus, Erythrea, Labiatae two, common; Salix.

The gorge appears to be a distinct formation of sandstone, slate, and limestone: on the way to it, we continued over the sand and conglomerate hill, which again recur at Jugdulluck, with plenty of Holly.

The Sofaid-Koh is visible from the main ridge: it is a ridge running perhaps SW. to NE., tolerably covered with snow, as barren as any others: a few fir trees are found in the direction of Tazeen: are these confined to the sandstone formation? little grass, a few rice fields, bad forage.

[Pass and gorge, Barikab to Jugdulluck: m414.jpg]

12th.—Halted at Jugdulluck. Small partridges are common: observed a curious Certhioid creeper, whose flight is like that of the Hoopoe; it is scandent over rocks.

13th.—To Soorkhab, twelve and a half miles over a similar country: region of Hollys continues; we first passed up a ravine, then over undulating ground, until the summit of the pass is reached. From this a fine view of Sofaid-Koh is obtained, the lower ranges in some places being black with firs; thence a continued descent, varied here and there by small ascents over undulating ground, we at length came to a ravine filled with bulrushes: we followed this, leaving it near the halting place, and winding over rocky ground and a bad road, we descended to the bed of the river. The road good, though stony here and there, but nowhere so, to such an extent, as the previous marches.

Hills precisely similar to those already passed, either sandy, easily friable, or conglomerate, held together by sandy cement. Vegetation continues the same; Baloot, or oak, is said to be abundant though I did not see it; Daphne, and Xanthoxylon, compose the chief shrubby vegetation; Saccharum here and there. Small partridge very common. The greatest ascent is 5,600 feet. No grass for forage; several very small streamlets were passed en route, so that a small party might halt anywhere.

[Ascent and descent Jugdulluck to Soorkhab: m415.jpg]

The beautiful Himalaya looking range Sofaid-Koh, runs east and west; it is very high, in the back ranges with very heavy snow on both ridges, and peaks. The view from the pass shows a rapid fall in the country to the eastward, which still continues hilly, and very very bare. Large coarse grapes are had here, also pomegranates: some seedless rice cultivation occurs since we descended to Jugdulluck.

14th.—We proceeded nine and a quarter miles, throughout until reaching a grove near Gundamuck: the road lay over undulating ground, is more sandy than stony, and in two or three places it is raviny, and requires to be made. Then the road emerges into a fine sort of valley, dipping down to a small stream with many sedges. In the bed of the stream, willows occur, and mulberries about it: we then ascended and halted just beyond the ascent. Water and dhoob grass are both plentiful, as well as supplies of grain, pomegranates, and grapes, as yesterday; Bajree.

A fine view is obtained of Sofaid-Koh, which forms the southern boundary of the valley; many villages, with cultivation in a very sandy soil. Small partridge very abundant. A fox observed. The ravines wherever there is water, crowded with Typha, and Saccharum; oaks are seen in abundance on the mountain to the south; left the Soorkhab river after fording it near yesterday's camp; the bridge is quite useless for cattle, as the ground is rocky and broken on this side, no pains having been taken to carry the work to the road; cypresses, planes and mulberry trees in the gardens: Cannabis, also one patch of cotton cultivation was passed.

No descent, but rather small ascent on the whole, say 200 feet, the ascent from the principal nullah crossed being equal, though much shorter than the descent to it.

[Soorkhab to Gundamuck: m416.jpg]

15th.—We halted: many rivulets descend near us from the Sofaid-Koh; and the water in these is beautifully clear; many villages and mills with several beautiful spots occur, well shaded with trees, poplars, mulberries, and figs. The objects of cultivation are millet, Indian-corn, rice, and wheat; this last just sprung up: many bedanah pomegranates, but none I think of superior quality.

All the low hills here, and indeed between us and the boundary ranges of the valley, are of sandstone, generally very slightly held together, here and there more firm, and distinctly stratified towards the upper surface. The surface consists of conglomerate, formed of boulders imbedded in the same kind of sandstone as that below; often very friable, occasionally it is as hard as flint. In the sandstone below, a few stones occur here and there; but I saw no fossils. The upper surface of these hills is remarkably stony, all the stones being more or less rounded.

Several new plants were found in these ravines, a Lythrum, a very aromatic species of Compositae, Samolus in some of the swamps with Typha, which swarms in every ravine and ravinelet, Rubus, Clematis, Bergia, Ammannia, Lythraria, Chara, Xanthium.

The plants of tropical forms are, Celosia of Digera! Polanisia, Andropogons, two or three.

The tropical cultivation consists of cotton, the usual annual sort; Indian-corn, Pennisetum, and rice.

The fish are, four kinds of Cyprinidae, including one Oreinus, and one loach.

16th.—Proceeded to Futtehabad, eleven and a half miles. The road leaves the valley after crossing a stream with a ruined bridge, like that at Soorkhab, but of two arches, and ascending a little way, then winding along over undulating very stony ground; this continues until we descend steeply and along the Neemla valley, a mere ravine, historically interesting, as the field on which Shah Soojah lost his kingdom in 1809, and for a fine tope of trees: then crossing a streamlet, we ascend a little way over sandstone, then another stream, which we follow for 500 yards, and ascending a little, we proceed thence to camp, along a slight slope of very stony, generally very level ground, where we halted on a rivulet with a wide grassy bed, Lythrum growing around.

[Gundamuck to Futtehabad: m417.jpg]

No change appears in the vegetation: the surface very barren in stony parts, chiefly Artemisia, Saccharum, Andropogon albus, in ravines, Capparis common, also AErua and Lycionoides.

The northern boundary of the valley is comparatively low, and from Sofaid- Koh to this is an uniform slope, broken by ravines; here and there by small hills; ravines occasionally dilating into small valleys, the only parts in which cultivation is to be seen. This is so far different from the usual formation where the valleys occupy the level tract between the slopes from either boundary range. Neemla is a very confined space for any thing like the battle said to have taken place here, the rising grounds inclosing the small space being too much broken for cavalry.

The rocks consist of conglomerate at top, below sandstone, layers of both alternating near the surface: a break occurs (nearly opposite) in the hills, this break is minutely undulated. {417} Rock pigeons were seen on the march by Thomson, and small partridges. I find that though to our senses there was comparatively but little descent, that the barometer and thermometer indicate one of 1,500 feet. The Neemla river must be the boundary between the hot and cold countries alluded to by Burnes.

In spite of this descent, and our small altitude, about 3,000 feet, but little change if any occurs in the vegetation, and none in the general features of the country; the Apocynea of Dadur and Bolai (Nerioides) has re-appeared.

At this season (October), throughout the way we came from Cabul, there is a curious white efflorescence covering the Shootur Kari, I do not know what it is, but it is not Conferva. A good deal of forest is seen on some of the ranges to the north of this, bearing from camp about NNE., certainly not firs, perhaps oaks.

19th.—Yesterday we went to the Soorkhab, which runs east and west along the northern boundary of the valley; half the distance down the bed of this stream the ground is strewed with boulders, thence to the hills, and excepting the bed of the Soorkhab, is one sheet of cultivation, consisting of large quantities of cotton and sugar-cane, this latter of small size, and not very juicy, castor-oil plant, Corchorus (Pat), Sun, Tel., radish, and among the other plants cultivated, the Mudar is common: Nerioides of Dadur; Epilobium sp. is the chief Boreal form. This is one of the richest districts I have seen.

Trees—Bukkhien, {418} Furas, Ficus, Cupressus, with much rice cultivation.

The vines are trained on mulberries, as Burnes says, or the Lilyoak. Pomegranates are also to be mentioned among the fruits of this place.

The Soorkhab river is not seen after leaving the place of the same name; after it crosses the road, it runs due north through the mountains, in a narrow, almost inaccessible bed; its waters are of a reddish colour.

The villages here are larger, and not so fortified as those about Cabul. Balabagh stands on a high bank of conglomerate, overhanging the Soorkhab, and is in danger of being cut away by the river. The peasantry are civil, and unarmed. Ravens, quails, minas, sparrows, and a beautiful swallow were seen about the Soorkhab river; the latter, with metallic blue on the back of the head, crown of head tawny, tail short, two exterior feathers elongated into beautiful almost setaceous bodies, exceeding the length of the bird. This swallow, or one with a similar tail, was seen by Sanders on the Helmund, at Girishk.

20th.—We proceeded to Sultanpore, eight and a half miles, passed Futtehabad, thence a gradual descent over a very stony slope to the halting place, where the valley becomes narrow, and water plentiful in a small stream. Willows, mulberries, ashes. Two large pollards at Futtehabad.

The vegetation consists of Gramineae in patches, AErua Nerioides, and Mudar.

Sultanpore, is a village of some size, situated about a mile north from the road, and contains many Hindoos. All villages here crowded with highish two or three-storied houses, something like Shikarpore: they are surrounded with gardens and mud walls, apricots, mulberries, greengages, pomegranates in profusion; the cultivation very rich as yesterday, and there is an air of repose about the villages unusual in this country. Tobacco. The rice-pounder or dekhee I observe is here lifted by treading on it with the foot, as in Hindoostan. The country hereabout, has the advantage of being well watered. Isain, Dolichos sp. occurs.

Trees as before: the plane flourishes, fine ones were seen growing around a Hindoo Zearut, where there is a double spring of water with a copious ebullition of gas. The temperature of this is said to be hot in winter. Salsola common, Joussa, a curious Ericoid plant was observed, Typha angustifolia, latifolia ceased since we left Gundamuck; Isachne, Pulicaria, Epilobium, Sagittaria, Cyperaceae, Marsilea! Polygonum, Ranunculus sceleratus, Lythrum, Lemna, Alisma, Menthoid, a Cuscuta common on cotton plants, as at Futtehabad, several tropical grasses, Aristida, Poa, and Andropogon appear.

Descent though almost unappreciable, yet amounts to 1,000 feet. Bulbul and Parus common, as well as doves and ravens; quails are scarce.

21st.—To Jallalabad, eight and a half miles, the road keeping along the southern edge of the valley, occasionally extending over small undulations sometimes stony, more often sandy.

Typha latifolia occurs in profusion along parts of Futtehabad nullah, general features the same otherwise, AErua and Nerioid are common on stony parts, and fewer coarse grasses.

Cypresses in gardens, also khujoors. Starlings.

The entrance to Jallalabad, or rather to its suburbs, presents the usual desolate, disorderly appearance, of such places in this country; the ruined walls to the city; the sandy barren soil, and the odious looking low hills between it and the Sofaid-Koh, present as sad and melancholy a picture as could well be met with. The same desolate, disorderly, dirty appearance is to be met with in most Asiatic capitals, particularly those that have been subjected to independent misrule: while the more distant surrounding villages look cheerful, and as clean as can be expected: the appearances immediately around the chief towns are always bad. To what is this owing? is it to their being more completely under the thumb of a rapacious governor? to the insecurity of property, or to defect in the laws? or to all these causes together?

At Cabul it was just the same, particularly on the Peshawur side, where stagnant pools, half destroyed mosques, and mutilated trees present a total contrast to the smiling valley of Kilah-i-Kajee.

At Shikarpore the same.

The most common fruit tree in the gardens here is a sweet lime: grapes are brought in from the villages of Sofaid-Koh, they are the same sort as those at Gundamuck: Narcissus, Rosa, Cerasi sp., Mirabilis, stock, Cupressus, mulberry also in gardens, Bheir of waste places, Salsola, Artemisiae, two or three: Kochia villosa, Peganum, AErua, Croton of Candahar, Ricinus, Joussa of wet places, Lippia, Typha latifolia, angustif., Azolla, Riccia, Cyperaceae, several Lythrarieae, Potamogeton, three species. The fish here will not take a fly, and the bottoms are too foul and stony for worm-fishing, the largest sort of fish is somewhat like a Barbel. Jackdaws and Corvus, alter atratus, dorso ventre griseo: very few quails. Furas common.

27th.—To Ali-Baghan, distance six and a half miles, road winding, generally good: after it crossed the dry bed of the nullah, it then becomes rather undulated extending over raviny ground; it then crosses the broad bed of the stream, in which there are swarms of bulrushes, then the same sort of sandy ground leads to camp, which is near the village Ali-Baghan.

The river here is much increased, much more deep; banks alluvial, steep; soil deep. Chenopodium sp., very common, but too much eaten up to be recognized, also Salsolae sp.

Nothing new observed. We passed the break above-mentioned in the northern hills, whence issues the Coomur Nuddee. Serratuloides very common in sandy undulations. Porcupines and foxes. Beds of grass in islands of the river Barikab.

28th.—We proceeded to Bankok, twelve and a half miles from the encamping ground, having turned nearly due south, in order to avoid the slope, which is seen in this direction from Jallalabad; then a valley, with low hills on either side, is passed; then the road ascends over undulating ground, until 500 feet is gained; then a long and gradual descent is traversed over a very stony plateau.

No water nor cultivation on the road, nothing can exceed its barrenness. AErua Nerioides, Lycioides, Andropogon albus, are the principal plants on the plateau; Kochia common, and a few straggling Bheirs, small rock pigeons. Geology unchanged, sandstone and conglomerate, with enormous boulders.

We passed the gorge through which the Cabul river runs. The road, by this is said to be only six miles, but is only passable by pedestrians and horsemen.

One village of some size is situated in the south towards Sofaid-Koh; from the plateau as well as from our camp, a curious and characteristic scene is visible to the north, showing a barren lofty range with peculiar undulations at the base, as well as the isolated hills jutting up above its surface: the trees and villages being confined to the course of the river which may be thus traced by its fertility. In this last direction there is a good deal of Abadi, but nothing comparable to that about Jallalabad.

At camp Serratuloid australasicus, very common, as indeed it was yesterday; foliis verticalibus in consequence of both surfaces being stomatose, the base of the leaf is so twisted as to present each surface equally to the light. It is curious that all such leaves have the veins prominent on both surfaces, showing a relation between the veins and the stomata, the more stomata the larger veins.

29th.—To Bassoollah, eight and a half miles, the road for guns is good throughout; better perhaps than any yet met with, from the soil being sandy. We came by a straighter road, and a very bad one, instead of diverging to the south, and rounding a range of hills, we entered these, and passing through a gorge coming upon marshy ground, running for some distance along the Cabul river, to which we were here quite close. Passed several villages about the mouth of the gorge, which is a short one.

The general features of the country continue the same; we crossed a nullah near the camp, and another near the gorge, six miles from camp, towards this last, grass covers the plains, though of a coarse kind; AErua Nerioides most common on the barren ground.

We observed on the way a new Pterocles, and passed an old tope situated on a low ridge.

The gorge is rather pretty; the Cabul river runs close, along the foot of a range, forming the northern boundary of the place, where Bassoollah is situated, this is also a pretty place, with much good grassy ground for encamping on.

The country under Sofaid-Koh presents a long strip of cultivation, with many villages: hills barrener than ever, chiefly limestone. Very little snow here observed as on the eastern face of the high peaks of Sofaid- Koh, compared with the quantity visible on the face towards Jallalabad.

About half-past two, a slight shock of an earthquake was felt, presenting a rumbling noise, very audible, proceeding from east to west.

Between the village and the river, an extensive strip of level land occurs, with sandy soil well adapted to rice, of which quantities are grown. The crops are now ready for the sickle, and some partly cut: much of this land is occupied by a marsh choked with bulrushes of both sorts, Typha latifolia being the most common; Cyperaceae abound, Marsilea in profusion, Azolla, Mentha, Epilobii sp. as before, Lemna, Valisneria verticillata? Sium., Sagittaria, Pulicaria, Chara, Lippia, Monniera, Jhow.

The river runs close under the hills, which are very barren, its course is rapid, cataracts also are of frequent occurrence transmitting a great body of water; no fish are visible. Some cotton and maize and Toot cultivation. Furas the only trees.

The mountains slope off from Sofaid-Koh in distinct groups, and are seen to advantage, broken in some places into undulations: about the centre of the slope an irregular strip of village forts and cultivation is extended. The course of the Cabul river in many places is curious; flowing between singularly round ranges. Snipe common; quail rare. Erythraea common on moist sward.

30th.—Proceeded to Lalpore, the country undulating, the road skirting the stony portions of the plain is bad to Hizarnow, three miles from thence it is very stony, thence continuing on the skirts of the hills, which are principally slate, and passing through a small ravine, it then extends over sandy or stony ground, until the Chota Khyber is reached: this is a narrow, but short, and not very steep pass; slate rocks compose the upper parts, and are entirely disintegrated, thence they descend at once into the plain opposite Lalpore; the distance of the march is eleven miles, the road generally decent.

Much rice cultivation occurs, and much land, it must be confessed, also occupied by marshy ground, Typha, etc. The same plants continue; Butomus trigonifolius not uncommon.

On the slate rocks of Buttencote Kochia recurs, Heliotropium luteum, Nerioides, and Lycioides of Shikarpore are found.

Near Hizarnow, Serissa, Acaciae sp., which is the black wood of Madras; Sissoo, and Bheirs. Hizarnow is a large place, curiously occupying receding slopes of the base of a low range of hills, but it must be dreadfully hot. We passed several Kaburistans with pollarded, stunted, excavated Furas trees. One mile before Hizarnow, a curious hill of slate occurred, covered with boulders.

The road is very winding in consequence of its following the bases of the hills forming the southern boundary of the valley. The Cabul river is visible almost throughout the whole march.

All houses in the villages are now roofed in this part of the country with straw. Starlings observed in swarms.

31st.—Halted at Lalpore, this is a very busy large place: the houses are one-storied, and flat-roofed. The only peculiarity being occasional square towers. The river is here quite open for commerce downwards, and is well adapted to small canoes: the stream is rapid and crossed by a ferry.

On rocks under which the river flows near this, a species of Fissidens occurs, where the rocky surface has passed into sand. Glycyrrhiza, Rubus, Artemisia, Asparagus, Pommereulla, Andropogon albus, Arundo, Cyrthandracea, an Hyoscyamus of the Bolan Pass, Beebee Nanee, Heliotropium flavum.

It would be curious to enquire why the powers of variation change so completely in the different families? Thus for instance in Orchideae, no character can be taken from the vegetation with some limitations, and none from the fruit or seeds; two products in most orders very fruitful in discriminating marks. This leads one to the idea that in monocotyledonous plants, the fruit is very generally of limited powers of variation; witness Orchideae, Gramineae, Smilacineae, etc. this idea deserves to be followed out as much as possible. The river at the ferry is 100 yards wide, and twelve feet in the deepest part, the current five miles an hour, but confined to one and a half towards its centre.

November 1st.—Marched ten miles: the road from the camp extended up an acclivity, the ground becoming more broken than usual to the mouth of the ghat, which is four miles distant; thence up to the ghat which resembles much the Bolan Pass, it extends up an inclined plane over a shingly road. The ghat is rather wide throughout, and all the features are the same as the Bolan Pass, slate rocks most common. We passed on the way a large and a deep but dry well, ascribed to the kafirs; and near it the ruins of a fort built half-way up a small mountain, the top of which is level with the ghat.

Vegetation to the ghat unchanged. In the ghat Capparis as before, Lycioides, Chamaerops, Andropog. albus, Schaenanthus, Bheir, Nerioides, Pommereullioid, Andropogonea, appear at once, AErua, Asparagus.

At 300 feet up, Mimosae sp., foliis tomentosis, occurring here and there. Heliotropium flavum, Plectranthus lavandulosus, Scrophulariae sp.

At 500 feet, Dodonaea: this is very common, and being very green, gives the ghat a pretty appearance.

At 600 feet, a curious pomaceous looking Rhamnaceous plant is found.

The most common plants are Nerioides, Andropogon albus, Bheir, Chamaerops, Dodonaea.

The bed of the ghat is formed of debris from the boundary hills, this bed is very thick, and the particles have the appearance of being carried to their present situation by water.

Our halting place is a confined irregular piece of ground, water abundant, but no grass, except coarse Andropogon; no fodder, except Bheir and Mimosa.

I ascended in the evening the ridge to the south, and which is 1,200 feet above the road, to the ruins that run along the summit. The ridge, like all others in this neighbourhood, is rugged and much distorted, the top is limestone, much varied and weathered; then slate masses of greenstone occur towards the base.

The vegetation is chiefly at the summit. Schaenanthus, Periploca, Dodonaea, an arbuscula nova, Euonymus, Chenopodiaceae. Below this, (but the elevation is scarcely sufficient to form any difference,) and along the water, Euonymus, Adhatoda, Buddlaea cana or Syringia, Rhamnacea, Periplocea, Linaria, Labiatae, 2-3, Pistacea, Roylea, Acanthoides, Urticea! habitu, U. penduliflorae, Vitex, Convolvulus spinosus of Bolan, Sempervivum, Stapelioides used as a vegetable, and for fever by Hindoos, Artemisiae, Solanum sp.

Along water, Adiantum, Mentha, Epilobium, Verbena officinalis, Solanum nigrum, Jacquinifol. pinnatif. spinosus about cultivation.

On slaty rocks which form the bed of the ravine or ghat, Dodonaea, Hyoscyamus, and Cyrthandracea are found.

The building consists of a wall near the edge of a ridge, which terminates some twenty feet from the steep precipice of 300 to 500 feet: it is 200 to 300 yards in length, and is terminated at either end by two towers, both of which are ruinous, it is built of slabs and rough blocks of limestone, between which are layers of slate, much like the Bactrian pillar, and very superior to modern buildings: what its use was, it would be difficult to conjecture as it is out of musket shot of the ghat, which it only commands by being above it. There is no water on the top, nor is there any well-marked path up to it: curious mortar-like excavations were observed in a mass of limestone just below, probably for pounding rice. Up the ravine are remains of terraces formerly used for cultivation, but now mostly disused. At 700 to 800 feet above the ghat the ravine abounds with the Ficus of Gundamuck; this and the Adhatoda or Rooss are perhaps cultivated: the ravine is pretty well entangled with Ficus and brushwood. It consists of metamorphosed rocks and excavated limestone; some mosses occur, and Adiantum abounding.

From the ridge, a rather extensive view to the south is obtained, extending to the Khyber fort, which is of the ordinary square form, and just below it, a tower and house. To the east, and all around a good deal of cultivation occurs; also several high ridges, say 7,000 feet; one terminating 4,000 feet above us, presents a very rugged outline with the appearance of rather large trees. The road up to the ghat is visible, as well as the Choky and a fort, with a small sheet of cultivation to the eastward. Beyond this a ravine, then two other ridges, of which the nearer one is high. The Cabul river passes to the NNW., and Lalpoor lies to the north. One peak and a small piece of ridge of Hindoo-koosh, white with snow, is seen very distinctly though distant, it must therefore be very lofty; far more so than any part we have seen to the westward.

[Khyber Pass: p425.jpg]

Description of the annexed map of the Khyber Pass.

A. Kumdhukta. By this is Abkhanah route.

B. Little Khyber ghat, on Peshawur side.

C. Khyber ghat, entrance on the Jallalabad side.

D. Kurraha route.

E. Direction of Sofaid-Koh in the distance.

F. Flagstaff in the middle of the Pass.

The ground between the dotted lines and river, on the south, is, or has been cultivated. The ground near the river on the north side is covered here and there with brown grass. About the Flagstaff, sand and short dried up grass occur.

The general character of the hills in every direction except the snowy range, is bluffly rounded, very bare, and brown, with here and there a shrub.

That which Burnes calls Noorgil, is the range of Kareaz, and is distinct from Koonur. Kashgur lies beyond the snowy range.

The inhabitants of the mountains, like those of Lalpoor, wear sandals made of the fibres of Chamaerops, which is common: one plant of Ephedra used for snuff?

3rd.—Proceeded to one mile beyond Ali-Musjid. The ascent commences immediately where the Choky is seen from the camp, by a very good road cut out of slate rock; the rocks are steep on both sides, and very zig- zag; a short partial descent in one place occurs to a small pool of water. From the Choky, a descent takes place by a similar road for perhaps two miles, until the ravine which we left at camp is turned; this is thence followed, occasionally leaving it where the road is bad and runs through low rugged hills. The road then after passing some of the old ruins opens out into a space with cultivation. Close to this is the highest spot of the pass, surrounded by low hills, none higher than 500 feet. Cultivation occurs especially at Lal-Ghurry Beg, a space of some size, containing several villages, of the usual Khyberry form, namely, surrounded by low, quadrangular walls, with a thin square tower and very broadly projecting eaves. A short distance from its summit, just after passing the villages, and before entering the ravine which leads us to our present camp is a Khyberry tower, built on a fine Bactrian tope, which is nearly half ruined; on the top of this a dome of good proportions is built on a double-terraced foundation.

This gives a rude idea of what the tope was originally, now half the dome has fallen down.

[A Khyberry tower: m426.jpg]

The entrance to the ravine gradually becomes narrower, the bed is stony, very winding, and narrow. Bold precipices of limestone cliffs ascend on either side of Sir-i-Chushme; then a little below, very copious springs issue from limestone. The temperature of the principal spring is 75 degrees; it contains abundance of fish—a loach and cyprinoid. Passed some ruined fortifications on the right, leading down to water, evidently kafir works; then we enter a narrow but short gorge, occupied by the stream; a few more turns and you come on Ali-Musjid. No change occurs in the vegetation, bare rocks at the summit of which the Bar. stood at 26.72. Andropogons and Artemisiae are the chief plants.

In the gorge downwards, Acacia occurs in abundance, with Adhatoda, and otherwise the shrubs of Lundyakhana occur in abundance, and Adiantum about the spring.

After passing the fort, the rocks open out into a ravine, with low undulated hills on every side, covered with the usual vegetation; Astragalus one species.

At Lal-Ghurry Beg, one Khinjuck tree, Elaeagnus, occurred; and grass in very small stacks, well pressed and covered with a thatch of bushes and a layer of dirt.

There is excellent fishing in the stream. Loaches, Perilamps, and especially an Oreinus? swarming at Sir-i-Chushme, and taking worms very greedily.

No forests whatever visible in this direction; the arborescent vegetation being confined to scattered and small trees.

5th.—We halted near Jumrood, after a march of ten miles and one furlong. This place is situated at the mouth of the pass, within sight of the Seikh camp at Jumrood. Marched down to the ghat, which is generally speaking narrow and very strong, opening out here and there, into easier parts extending down the stream all the way; this stream loses itself suddenly, but after a little distance it is replaced by another from the right, where ravines enter: here the pass is well adapted for pillage, elsewhere the sides are so steep, that robbers could not dispose of their plunder. At the mouth, the pass opens out into a good breadth, with an even, small, shingly bottom. At Kuddun the Seikh troops were drawn up to compliment the C. in C., one regiment met us shortly before to protect the baggage. Maize cultivated. At the mouth, the Khyber is more difficult than any other pass, except the Bolan: perhaps it is much narrower than that, except just above Sir-i-Bolan.

No change in vegetation, one or two new plants occurred, viz. a Labiata, and a treelet, foliis linearibus oppositis, Jasminacea aspectu, Baloot, Vitex common, Salix, and shrubs as before, Veronica, etc.

The Khyber mountains viewed from the mouth of the pass are brown, and dotted with peculiar looking trees.

6th.—Proceeded six and a half miles to near the ruins of an old tope; first, down the nullah, then by the fort of Futtygurh, a Hindoostanee mud fort with high parapets, two lines of works, and a pucka citadel with embrasures for guns on a commanding mound: thence we passed over a gentle slope with a good many scattered Bheirs, Kureels, AErua, Mudar, etc. to camp, where the ground is very rough and stony, abundant water obtained from a cut with sheets of maize cultivation. Fossil shells, Pterocles, found in arenaceous limestone (Durand).

7th.—To Peshawur, eight and a half miles, over a sandy plain; road bad, intersected with cuts and ravines; three canals had to be crossed by small bridges which occasioned a good deal of delay to the camels. Passed the Seikh lines, between the fort and north face of town, and encamped on east face opposite the Governor's house: three gibbets were passed, with twelve persons hanging from them, some of old date.

In the evening we had a gay party at M. Avitabili's, who is a fine looking man, with an intelligent Italian countenance.

In a room gaudily decorated and painted, was the following very appropriate motto—

Donec eris felix multos numerabis amicos. Tempora si fuerunt nubila, solus eris.

If this was true in Rome, and is true in Europe, to what extent does its truth not reach in this country. In the evening we were entertained with dancing and fireworks; excellent dinner and admirable bread.

14th.—To-day the atmosphere is hazy, but the snowy range is not topped with clouds. It is curious enough that the part which is most exposed to our view, and which bears about north-east, is generally clouded throughout the hotter parts of the day, while apparently equally high peaks in other directions remain clear.

It is curious that in Khorassan remarkably few climbing plants occur, and of these, the chief form is Cuscuta.

Botany here at this season is a non-entity, in the marsh close to the fort, there occur some few plants, the chief European forms being Veronica. Ranunculus sceleratus is now coming into flower, Typha angustifolia abounds, with Arundo, also Sparganium, Sium, Butomus trigonifolius common; otherwise Cyperaceae, Epilobium out of season! Ranunculus aquaticus is most abundant; two species of Chara, or rather 1 Chara, and 1 Nitella, the last a beautiful species, Marsilea in profusion, Azolla common, Lemna two or three species, one new, a floating Marchantiacia, Nelumbium occurs, but only as a cultivated plant.

Of two Boreal, or European forms found in sub-tropical countries, that form is the most northern which flowers, etc. in the coldest season, hence Veronica and Ranunculus are more northern than Epilobium in this particular district. The most elevational plant at Cabul is Cardaminoidea, floribus luteis, this flowers at high altitudes in August and September, and at Cabul shows no symptom of flowering even in October; it is there a winter plant? The same is true of Hippuris, which to flower at Cabul requires a greater degree of cold than is obtainable during the summer months.

What I have said of Epilobium above, is true of Typha and Arundo, both now passed flowering, and both found in India, to a considerable extent.

Royle's idea of the comparatively greater extent of distribution of water plants is not I think correct, in the sense he seems to entertain it; to be so, the species should be the same, which they are certainly not. It is only with pre-eminently aquatic forms that the annual temperature can be more equalised than obtains with strictly terrestrial plants. The humidity which may appear connected with the rapid evaporation in these countries, and which obtains? in the vicinity of all bodies of water, may account for the appearance here of Arundo, etc. All genuine aquatic types have leaves involute in vernation?

The least valuable of all northern forms, are those associated with cultivation, especially if they be annuals, because in the first place they may be acclimated species, a circumstance of great importance; and in the second, because if annual, they are confined to the cold season. All such forms have probably migrated into these countries, they have come from the westward: this shows us why at almost equal elevations they are most common, the nearer we approach to the elevated regions towards the west, because it is self-evident that the nearer we approach the regions whence they have migrated, the more abundant and diversified will the migrating plants be, only particular species having the power of extending the range of migration.

When all the Indian plants hitherto met with, have been tabulated; when all their respective heights at which they have been found have been determined; when their more strictly geographical sites have been fixed; when we have some data as to the quantity of humidity pervading their localities; then, and not till then, shall we be able to legislate for the geography of Indian botany.

The Botanist who travels without the means of determining these points, destroys half the value of his collections.

December 16th.—Yesterday was very raw and cloudy, to-day clear as usual, towards 1 P.M. a strong north-east wind occurred for a short time as usual, because once or twice before, it occurred after threatening weather.

Rationale.—It blows from the nearest snow to supply the rarefied air in the valley heated by the sun, even now tolerably powerful; it blows for some days so long as a vacuum is formed, and discontinues when clouds again appear; hardly so, as it before only blew for three or four days, although several more elapsed before clouds re-appeared: it may however be dependent on each fresh fall of snow in the hills.

26th.—Cloudy morning, forenoon fine, clear and calm.

Mosses are the analogues of Zoophytes; these analogies are to be looked for in the most striking and most constant parts of the organization of the divisions of nature.

Marchantiaceae are the representatives of radiate animals, another reason why Jungermanniaceae are to be separated from them.

Hence, Radiata, = Marchantiaceae. " Zoophyta, = Musci.

I am quite convinced that the true subordinate groups of Acotyledones are far from being discovered.

Are the sheaths found on certain radicles strictly confined to monocotyledonous plants. There is this certain about them, that they depend on the presence of vascular tissue, from which the radicles or the divisions of each root originate: see young Hyacinth roots, grown in water.

Although the sheaths cannot exist without a positive cuticle, their existence does not depend so much on its presence as on the direction of the adhesive powers of its component parts: witness certain forms of Marchantiaceae, and the vaginate forms, as Azolla, Lemna, etc. Also the sheath may not have adhesive powers at its apex to prevent the escape of the radical at that point: witness Hyacinth roots? We may imagine a case in which the primary radicle may be without a sheath, while its divisions shall have them, this depending on the want of adhesion of the cuticle over the original one.

The emerged and immersed leaves of plants are well worthy of examination, since Microphytum proves that stomata do not depend on the presence of a cuticle as Brongniart supposes: their presence is united with, or allied to an amount of density in the cellular tissue, sufficient to prevent the due aeration of the inner cellules, without direct communication with the atmosphere. Vide Musci!! Hence the inner tubes of the leaves of the generality of aquatic plants, (exception Eriocaulon fluitans.)

What is the cause of the plurality of radicles in certain species of Lemna, and their blank in others? It will be necessary on this point to examine well the sheaths of Azolla, and to look at the Mergui AEschynanthus.

The formation of Affghanistan is very curious: it consists of a wide extent of country, variously elevated steppes being separated by ridges usually very accessible, generally isolated. The mountainous part varies as to its formation, but there is no variety in the declivities and acclivities forming the lower elevations, which are composed of conglomerate; nor is there much in the usually narrow strip at the lowest portion of each steppe or valley, which is very generally the only cultivatable portion.

In the Khyber ghat the ridges are either of limestone or slaty rocks, between which conglomerate occurs of various thicknesses; this being dependent on the angle of the mountains forming the sides of the ghat: it is from this conglomerate in such places consisting usually of a loose texture that the very excellent roads (for mountainous passes) are naturally made by the draining streams, which are only periodical. The conglomerate consists of water-worn stones of all sizes, even boulders are not unfrequent, yet the wearing is such as occurs in courses now filling the beds of torrents. The conglomerate increases in density and adhesion towards Lalpoor, and in many places is exceedingly hard.

Whatever the country may have been previously, one might explain its present appearance by supposing it to have consisted of a tolerably level extent of conglomerate, with here and there a strip of soil in the lowest part of each portion, and that the elevation of the mountain ridges was of subsequent occurrence: this would account for the formation of the lower slopes, and the frequent isolation of small eminences of the same character as the neighbouring mountains. It will account for the appearance of the conglomerate in every ravine until the top of the culminating point is reached.

As the mountains were elevated, portions of conglomerate would be detached, and these resting again on all suitable places, would account for the existence of conglomerate on certain parts which are flatter than usual.

Whirlwinds are common about Cabul, commencing as soon as the sun has attained a certain degree of power.

In all cases they assume the shape of a cone, the point of which being a tangent on the earth's surface: the cone varies in shape, is generally of a good diameter, occasionally much pulled out, some being 2,300 feet in height, the currents are most violent at the apex.

They come and go in all directions, even after starting, not always preserving the original direction. They are less common on days in which winds prevail from any given direction, and vary much in intensity from a mere breeze, lightly laden with dust and with no tortuosity, to a violent cone of wind, capable of throwing down a soldari.

Northerly winds are prevalent here from 1 or 2 P.M. until 8 or 9 P.M., occasionally they only commence in the evening, when they are obviously due to the rarefaction of the air of the valleys by the great heat of the sun, amounting now to 100 degrees at 3 P.M., and the vacuum being supplied by gusts from the high mountains to the north and north-east.



CHAPTER XVIII.

From Peshawur to Pushut.

January 8th.—At Ichardeh. Between Busoollah and Lalpoor are three curious low ridges, none above sixty feet high, and all of small extent; they are covered with fractured masses of rock of the same size as those strewn so liberally about the shingly slopes; but they are much cleaner or fresher looking, and appear to me less worn. Whence do they derive their singular situation? They occur in such numbers, that one would at first think they originated from a mass of ruins, but the ridges present scarcely any surface for buildings to stand upon, certainly not to such extent as would account for the abundance of these fragments.

About Huzarnow and on both sides, low ridges of sand occur. In this sand graves are usually dug, and in some places to an extent indicating dreadful devastations from disease, each grave is headed by a stone, and about every ramification of the irregular size of the burial ground, there is a building of the usual mud structure, designed for a mosque, but not domed as is customary in Mussulman cemeteries, but ornamented with flagstaffs bearing white bits of cloth. These low sand ridges are often very much undulated; they consist of a very fine powder, and at Huzarnow are evidently of the same nature as the cultivated soil: they are neither in attachment as it were to the neighbouring hills, nor distinct from them, but always have some communication with the shingly slopes, to which they are evidently inferior.

So that the base of Khorassan may be taken to be the tillable portions, over which occur, to a vast extent, the shingly very barren slopes, which every section shows to be nothing but a mass of debris, resting on the mountain rocks.

9th.—Ali-Baghan. To this the road is good, along the right bank of the river, wherever it does not wind along over the spurs forming a considerable part of the march. To the first point where this occurs, it extends over the same sort of plain as that about Ichardeh; keeping rather close to the bank of the river, it is good, also through the valley of Gundikuss, and from near the Choky, to Ali-Baghan.

The first rocky ridge is about three-quarters of a mile in length, and is not very difficult; at the end near Gundikuss, is a curious ruin built into the stream, where the latter runs with violence on the rocky bank: it consists of a broadish pathway, with a wall on the river side, breast high; the masonry is good and solid, of the usual Bactrian materials, but well cemented; it has mostly been ruined by the river, only one end being perfect. Although the materials are Bactrian, the contour is Mussulman, and I was told by some people that it was a Mussulman erection: originally it perhaps extended all along this part, as slight traces here and there are discernible; for what use the original structure was intended I know not, as there are no remains visible of a fort.

The inlet of Gundikuss is well cultivated, the village itself a large straggling one, built close under a ridge.

From this to the Choky the path is rocky, and in many places very bad, consisting of a series of ascents and descents, and winding round spurs; in the worst place, the path almost overhangs the river 200 feet above its bed, and it is very hard and very rocky. The distance between ten or eleven miles, the road is impracticable for guns, etc. nor could our camels with loads well get over it.

10th.—To Camp at the Bussout river, nothing remarkable occurred; immense quantities of Serratuloides on the sandy raviny parts of the road. Crossed the river on the usual mussuck rafts, the animals forded it, at the quiet head of a rapid, water breast deep: this river is smaller than that from Kooner.

11th.—To Bussout, five miles. A village passed about one and quarter mile up Kooner ghat, here a mile broad. No change in the features of the country, which throughout is well cultivated; here and there abundance of sedges, in the low ground; plenty of watercuts, but none of any great size: road worse at the entrance of the ghat rounding the east boundary, but guns might avoid this ground by keeping towards centre of the ghat.

12th.—To Sha-i-wa, distance 8 miles. The road after turning the angle of Bussout ghat, passed entirely through cultivation, villages, trees and inhabitants more numerous than in any other place, cuts numerous, but the road altogether from this cause and the cultivated fields very bad. Rubus found along cuts at Chunar-Bukkeen. Toot, Phaenix. Vines numerous, of large size, running up mulberry trees; forests seen on Kooner mountain? Umlook and Julghogal, very common grain, very dear. The women are generally clothed in dark blue Noorgul. The road now extends up a gorge to our front, named Durrah.

Gooraiek fort on the opposite side.

13th.—Halted. River much clearer than that of Jallalabad; its bed affords abundance of large grass.

14th.—Rejoined camp, keeping on the north bank of river. The road passed over tillable recesses among the hills forming the north boundary of Kooner valley, and over the spurs dividing these, of which the first is short but bad, the last is a mile long, road infamous, narrow, rocky, and in some places overhanging the river. I was attacked about a mile and a half from camp, my servant Abdool Boyak, the bravest and most trustworthy Asiatic I ever saw, wounded, losing the two first fingers of his right hand; this was opposite the old Fort, Noorgul, which is a dilapidated kafir ruin on a low island in the centre of the valley and river, a strong position. {435} Other ruins occur on the road, one near Sek-Syud, the spur being covered with its remains.

After leaving Deh-Syud, the valley becomes contracted; the river occupying almost all its level portion, being much spread out, and with numerous grassy islands; the cultivation occurring in the recesses between the banks of the rivers and the glacis slopes.

15th.—To Kooner, the road passes to Noorgul, an old kafir fort, done up and occupied by Kooneriles, to its south-west, three-quarters of a mile a hostile fort is situated. The ferry is about two miles from Noorgul, and is with difficulty fordable: the streams, three in number, the last almost brim full, and very rapid; thence to Kooner is over a cultivated country.

Noorgul is on a commanding position, the ground rising gradually on all sides to it; the valley here is very narrow. Observed Cnicus, Fumaria, Lotus, Anagallis caerulea, and Veronica agrestis, springing up: trees continue the same to about Kooner: some fine plane trees observed.

All the mountains are wooded at a certain height, and in greater quantities, very different however from Himalayan forests, being dotted in parts, rather than uniformly clothed with forest, Andropogon one of the ordinary spring forms: the churs or islands in the river are also covered with Andropogoneous vegetation.

16th.—To Pushut, or rather to within one mile of it, rain throughout the day accompanied by an unpleasant wind down the valley. Road except for the first mile, during which it passed through cultivation, troublesome, otherwise with the exception of two ravines, at one of which the horses were taken out of the guns, very good: valley narrow, say three miles, the boundary ridges to the north presenting as it were, truncate faces to the valley, all the mountains at certain heights are well wooded.

17th.—Rain continued since, almost without intermission, very dirty weather, but no wind.

Snow on the hills around, almost within 1,500 to 2,000 feet of this, the mountains to the south are well wooded, the woods occurring here and there in forests; snow is said to fall here occasionally.

18th.—The attack took place this morning, and failed on account of the weather, which was sufficient to damp any thing, and which prevented the powder bags from exploding, as well as a second cask of cartridges. The men were withdrawn about twelve, rain pouring down, ammunition of the guns being expended, and that for musquetry quite useless; a few more rounds would have demolished the entrance gateway and brought it down bodily; loss severe, twenty five men killed, thirty-two wounded, several dangerously. The fort was well defended, and evidently by a mere handful of people.

19th.—Last night the fort was evacuated as well as that on the opposite side, and the Syud has made off into the hills. It cleared up in the morning but is now as threatening as ever, the ditch of the fort is twelve or fifteen feet deep, but like all Affghan ditches it is narrow. The parapets were very slight, so that a more powerful battery would have kept down their fire completely; no injury had occurred to the inner gate except its being off one of its hinges, or rather out of one of its sockets. The entrance was thus round the gate, not through the gateway: it was protected by a thick screen of brushwood and mud, all of the shots from the second position had lodged in the wall close to the side of the gate; every thing was carried off, except a little grain, and some gunpowder.

20th.—Continued rain.

21st.—Snow within 500 feet.

22nd.—Moved camp.

23rd.—Continued rain and sleet, almost passing into snow.

[Section of Kooner valley: m436.jpg]

Desideratum.—Required to ascertain positively whether the shingle and boulders are in all cases not derived from the boundary mountains: that they are not in many cases is clear, witness the declivities of slate rocks, totally incapable of assuming the form of boulders. The proportions of the cultivated to the uncultivatable land is previously given rather in favour of the tillable portion, this is always a light, almost impalpable powder, consistent when wetted: generally the soil owes any fertile qualities it has here, to the presence of water; thus the Dusht-i-Bedowlut produces nothing beyond its indigenous plants from having no water.

The transition from the extremely bare mountains of the Hindoo-koosh as seen on the road to Bamean, to the well wooded ones of the Himalaya, takes place at Jugdulluck, the hills, round which, produce plenty of Baloot: in this direction, the forests become much thicker as we proceed to the eastward. There is a mountain near Jallalabad, which at once arrests the attention from its being wooded. Nothing like it occurring between this and Cabul, on any part of the chain of mountains distinctly referrable to the Himalayas. Wooded as this is, it is nothing to the woods on the mountains about Pushut, the size of these has been well demonstrated by the late snows: some bare places occur, which appearances, Abdool says are from cultivation of Kohistanes. Baloot abounds, Dodonea also is now coming into flower! a curious fact pointing out its northern qualifications, although in form it is very like a Mergui Dodonea.

24th.—A clear day after a night of heavy rain, still no appearance of settled weather; walked in the afternoon towards the Dhurrah at the south side of the valley. The bouldery slope presented an abrupt bank of a considerable angle, and its limits were most marked from that of the tillable soil; as we approached the foot of the ghat, the fragments became larger, they are angular, and have been little if at all worn; thence I walked eastwards to a small isolated ridge of limestone, perhaps a mile from the foot of the boundary chain, and returned to camp. In this direction, which is that of the torrents, occasionally rushing out of the Dhurrah, the transition between the mountain slope, and the tillable soil, was gradual, the action of water carrying farther down small fragments, and turning some of the fields into a sandy shingly soil: the depth of the beds of these torrents here, is perhaps four feet, the section being a mass of very unequal fragments.

I am not certain whether these fragments are derived from the mountains or not, they seem to be too varied, and too widely spread for that, although the course of the occasional torrents must vary very much.

Another puzzling thing is, that in the section afforded by the ditch of the fort, and which is seventeen feet deep, the shingle underlies the tillable soil.

The vegetation of the slopes here partakes of the nature of the Khyber pass, the prevailing feature consists in coarse tufts of Andropogonous grasses, Lycioides occurs, also Periplocea, also Cryptandoid, Euonymus, these are on the cliffy ridge of limestone alluded to, 2 sp. of Astragalus, Solanum jacquini? Schaenanthus, Sedoides pictum very common, a small fern, apparently a Cryptogramma, Grimonia, Tortula, a Bryum, three or four lichens, one Marchantiacea found under boulders or in crevices of rocks, one Salsola, Fagonia, Dianthoid, Statice common, Onosma, Artemisia one or two, a large Cnicoid.

The only new feature is a shrubby dwarf fragrant Composita, foliis albis subobovatis, dentatis grossiusculi margine revolutis.

24th.—A break after a very wet night, cloudy throughout the day.

25th.—A fine day, particularly towards evening, beautifully clear.

26th.—No rain, but very cloudy, cold north-east wind.

27th.—Rain very threatening, a disgusting country in which it is impossible to take exercise without a strong guard: no means of access to the beautiful forests visible in several directions, and the natives are so intractable that it is impossible to induce them to bring in specimens of their various trees, the only things about which I am anxious.

In the meantime I have begun to use the theodolite, and getting approximations to the height of those peaks remarkable for their features of vegetation.

It is curious that no pines are visible on any range south of the Kooner river, until we reach those heights on the opposite side of a very conspicuous ravine, up which the Bajore road runs. To the north, on all the ranges of sufficient height, fine forests are visible, especially of firs, other large-crowned trees exist, forming the bulk of the forests, below the limit of the pines, but never grouped as those are, but occurring isolatedly, these I call generally, Baloot woods, i.e. Quercus Baloot.

The only means I have of gaining any idea of the composition of these forests, are derived from the twigs and branches, which are used by the natives as pads for the loads of wood which they bring into for sale, and which almost consequently are from the lowermost limits of woody vegetation. To go among the woods unguarded, is impossible, and secondly, the weather is very bad.

Memoranda.—That it cannot always be deficiency of soil which causes the extreme barrenness of the usual Khorassan mountains, because on the Kalo Pass to Bamean, nearly 13,000 feet high, the soil is abundant; but in this case, height may interfere.

It is obvious between Kooner and Cabul, that the transition from absolutely treeless mountains to well-wooded ones occurs nearer to Kooner than Cabul, because the Hindoo-koosh about Cabul, and to the eastward, is said to be treeless.

How interesting will the examination of these woods be, how different will be their flora from that of Khorassan proper!

To define the Khorassan Province also, by its being destitute of wood or trees. Note its passing off from this character between Ghuzni and Quettah, see Marryott's letter about Kooner, compare with Mazenderam forests. Fine plane trees occur here, all the vines are trained on mulberries. What is Burnes' holly oak, or lily oak?

Rubus occurs, Ranunculus stolonifolia, a cold season plant, Euphorbia ditto, and the usual Peshawur forms.

28th.—Fine weather; clouds however, still flying about.

29th.—A fine morning; in the afternoon threatening, night cloudy, all the clouds come down the ravine! except when the wind occasionally shifts to west.

30th.—Fine weather, although still unsettled. I procured the other day a few specimens of trees from the hills to the south of this, among these which amount only to a few, are one Myrtus, an Olenia, both of which bear me out in assuming that the woody vegetations of these hills will present a curious transition between the genuine Australio-European and the Himalayan forms.

31st.—Almost every isolated rock in this country is covered with ruins which vary much in extent, and are often barely perceptible, but careful looking will detect them in all situations about gorges, and such places. From the rivers running under rocks, the paths which must be resorted to, at least at this season, are very difficult. It would be curious to speculate on the different state of preservation of these ruins, and the singular people to whom they are due.

The soil of this valley is very deep in places: in one place on the opposite side of the river, it is twenty-five feet at least, the depth obviously diminishing towards the bed of the river, or the lowest part of the valley.

[Section through river valley: m440.jpg]

In this valley, at least about here, curious round thatched huts are visible about villages, intended for religious females, they are closed except at a small door.

Cotton much cultivated.

The Jala, or float skins used for crossing rivers, are inflated by bellows of the usual description, this causes delay as some require to be inflated very often owing to the eagerness of those who want to be ferried over, and who rush indiscriminately on the Jala which, from the rafts being few and far apart, occasion delay; such ferries were not intended for impatient travellers; nothing can show the want of intelligence of the people more than this abominably slow method of crossing rivers; here, there is little excuse for it, as wood is abundant.

The Culminating peak to the west of the north Dhurrah, shows that here, as elsewhere, snow lies longer on the north than south sides: it also affords a curious instance of the various disposition of snow: those angles of its faces presented to the south having none, or little snow; or does this depend upon the faces having different declivities?

February 1st.—First part of last night clear; but the wind shifting from west to north-east, has again thoroughly clouded the sky, night beautifully clear, no rain, and no wind during the day.

2nd.—A windy but clear night, succeeded by a beautiful morning, wind as usual, north-east or thereabouts, i.e. down the river.

I have seen it mentioned somewhere, that in arid climates the only support of vegetable life exists in the dews, which are hence, at least in the cases alluded to, supposed to be providential adaptations to supply certain deficiencies. But considering that dews consist of nothing but a deposition of moisture: it follows that in very arid climates, as there is no moisture, so there can be no dews. For the deposition of a dew, the fist essential thing, is moisture, either in the ground or in the air, this last may have been derived from the ground. If neither the ground nor the air contain moisture, no dews can exist, this is the case in Khorassan.

Throughout the whole campaign no dews were noticed, although the nights were almost uniformly serene and calm, and the time chosen for marching, would have certainly brought us in contact with them had they been deposited. Dews therefore do not form in Khorassan, with these exceptions, that wherever from the nature, and the level of the soil, water was found very near the surface, dews were deposited; as on the Chummums or low marshy pasturages at Candahar, Cabul, etc.

But even these were trifling, the aridity of the air being too great as compared with the small extent of Chummums, to allow the deposit of any considerable portion of the moisture it had derived from the ground.

So that aridity, instead of being adapted to dews, is a serious obstacle to their ever appearing. With the rarity of dew, that of hoarfrost which is nothing but frozen dew, may be associated; nor does hoarfrost often occur, because in Khorassan it rains in the winter too freely, particularly in all such places whose elevation is not sufficient to cause the formation of snow, and hence where other circumstances are favourable for hoarfrosts, they are too much watered as it were, and seldom occur. With extreme aridity, Khorassan unites extreme electricity, the casual friction of woollen cloths, especially those of camels' hair being accompanied by discharges sufficiently startling. The same thing happens when caressing dogs or horses. I could never fill the barometer without experiencing a shock as the mercury approached the bottom end of the tube, which (when nervous) used to endanger it.

It is this extreme aridity that gives Khorassan so rich a spring flora, this season being that of rain, of melting of snow, and the ground being well moistened.

It is this extreme aridity that necessitates the abundance of bulbous plants in Khorassan, these deposits of nutrition existing even in several of its Compositae.

Query—Why are Carduaceae, (Artemisia) so adapted to aridity?

The region of Carduaceae, commences about Ghuzni, and extends to Maidan or Cabul, it is at its maximum about Shaikabad and Huftasya. The abundance of Carduaceae on the higher grounds, as for instance towards Bamean, belong rather to a vernal flora.

I hope to be particular in hereafter comparing the floras of all the deserts? and to notice the absurd remarks of some travellers in Khoristhan, on the domesticated parasitic nature of the watermelon plant, on the Hedysarum Alhagi, Shooturkari.

3rd.—Fine moderate north-east wind, very clear.

4th.—Over-clouded.

5th.—Rain.

6th.—Unsettled.

7th.—Rain, thunder, distant lightning occasionally last night.

8th.—Fine: ice in the morning, thermometer five feet from the ground 35 degrees at 7 A.M.

9th.—Fine diffused clouds last night, succeeded by a strong northeast wind.

10th.—Fine.

11th.—Fine in the morning, then threatening.

12th.—Quite over-clouded, north-east wind. The inferior level of snow is now several hundred feet above that which it was at first.

Oxalis corniculata in abundance, what an universal plant this is.

All the natives of these parts wear sandals, those about the Khyber being made of the leaves of a small Chamaerops, which is common on the rocks of those mountains.

A proof of the extreme want of useful plants is seen in the fact, that baskets are scarcely ever seen, all the loads of flour, etc. being invariably carried in skins.

Leopards' skins for the purpose are obtained from Chugur Serai, Pullung and also Sofaid-Koh.

16th.—The troops marched on their return. A lark very much like the English species occurs in flocks; it is a stupid bird, although obviously aware of its resemblance to clods of earth, which it makes use of on every occasion when a little frightened. The Gypaetos is also found here; it feeds principally on carrion. I observed Trichrodroma for the first time here to-day, this bird is by no means a powerful climber; indeed the individual seen to-day could only cling, he was employed about sand banks of the irrigating canals, etc. hopping from one likely spot to another, clinging here and there momentarily, and always aiding himself in his inclined position by a flutter of his wings; holes seemed always to attract him. It is by no means a shy bird. I should observe however that I have seen this species running up and down cliffs, so that perhaps the rather loose sand would not give firm hold to his claws.

As I mentioned elsewhere, this bird is allied, at least in analogy to Upupa, it has its precise habit of flight and a good deal of its habits in looking for food, although the Hoopoe pokes about in the ground, or rather hammers the ground alone. It is however fond of building in holes of walls, it breeds at Punukka, in April.

I observed, and shot a weasel, or a mungoose to-day, whilst it was employed feeding on the cast away skin of a goat or sheep, so that some of these creatures evidently feed occasionally on carrion, although they are said to live upon live prey.



CHAPTER XIX.

On the Reproductive Organs of Acotyledonous plants.

17th.—Fine weather, the sun daily increasing in power, is having a remarkable effect on the peculiar spring vegetation, but this is not sufficiently developed to bring in the corresponding birds and insects. Gypaetos is common now about the dead camels.

On the low east ridge, along the path that leads over the river, ruins of ancient times are discernible, this only adds another to the many proofs of similarly situated ruins, that the people who built them have been located about Cabul, Jallalabad, and Peshawur, certainly not about Candahar.

In the soil between the rocks, and in their crevices saturated with moisture, most of the plants are just sprouting. Trichonema, Crocus, and one or two other monocotyledons, Labiatae? Sedum three or four species, exclusive of Sedoides foliis deltoides sphathulatis, and a Stapelioid Asclepias, are to be found. I also got a new fern, the fourth species out of 1,300 sp. it is a Ceterach or Grammitis, a curious stalked snuff- ball, and one or two other Fungi, with an inverted cap, were met with.

In the fields a young Ranunculus in profusion, Veronica agrestis, Euphorbia, Festuca annua?

Kochia spinosa, and a curious Mathioloid are among the few wild plants to be found about Pushut.

It would be a curious circumstance if all indusiate ferns were to be found reducible to a marginal production of the reproductive apparatus. I will bear this in mind, as certain forms of Pteris or its affinities lead me to suspect that in these tribes the indusium may be a long way from the margin, and yet be, quoad origin, marginal; this section illustrates my meaning.

[Fern sections: m444.jpg]

The transition to this might reasonably be suspected. The philosophy of ferns is most ill understood, the higher points connected with them have been quite neglected, and botanists in this as in other departments of the science have been contented to confer names on certain external forms, without sufficient regard to structure.

To-day I commenced examining Adiantum, with the view of determining if possible the nature of its reproductive organs, and the mode in which they are impregnated, if they are impregnated at all.

As I had long been aware that the fructification of each frond is a thing to be determined at a very early period, and that if not determined then, it is never likely to be determined afterwards, my attention was directed more strongly, if possible, than it would have been otherwise, to examining the subject at the earliest possible stage of its development.

The first piece examined gave me the idea that I had trouve le noeud de l'affaire; the second made me doubt this; the subsequent ones went far to disprove it.

I was immediately struck with the resemblance of those organs, called ramenta, to what are fairly assumed to be the male bodies, in certain other families of the same grand division; and I at once came to the conclusion, that the barren fronds, were barren, because almost destitute of these ramenta; and that as these ramenta were confined to the base of the stalk, that is, to the part below its first ramification, an obvious necessity existed for the peculiar nature of the vernation.

Further examination of the thing, especially of the base of the stipes and the adjoining part of the rhizoma, threw me back almost into my original difficulties. I find that the rhizoma is entirely covered with ramenta, which are brown, much detached at the base, and obviously represent a low form of leaf, i.e. in appearance, perhaps partly in function, but not in structure. Among these, mature ramenta at the punctas of prolongation, which appear to be very irregular, are concealed, others much smaller, and much narrower, (which bear as obvious a resemblance, or even more so to the male organs of certain other orders,) than the ramenta on the stipes. These are never entirely brown, the end cell alone is coloured, but though occasionally tinged with brown, they are filled with some fluid (even this is not so at first,) but do not appear to open. I believe that subsequently all become highly tinged with brown, but what increase of growth they subsequently undergo, I know not. The terminal cell is always solitary, very often attached to the one next it, which is generally single, obliquely placed, occasionally looking like the dimidiate calyptra capping a young seta. The number of cells forming the base, or dilated part varies, but is always small in proportion to the larger ramenta, or protecting scales: these last have a single terminal cell, which in fact must be the same in every really cellular growth sooner or later, the last degree of formative power being the production of a single cell.

At a subsequent period, still an early one, the terminal cell is fuscous- brown, and this colour then extends to the next in various degrees, but if it reaches the basilar ones at all, it does so at late periods. The base of the terminal cell, and parts of the parietes of the next and next, present a coagulated appearance, precisely as in certain mosses.

No such thing as a petiolate leaf occurs in acrogens, all are attached by a broad base? Of acrogenous leaves, those only are leaves whose attachment is at right angles with the stem; the rest are divisions of a frond. Thus far with the ramenta. The divisions of the frond, are, I find, not gyrate, but rather cochleariform involate. The future reproductiveness is settled at a very early period, and is distinguishable under the microscope by a sort of margination of the frondlets. In the earliest stage I have looked at, the margin is greenish, striated by narrow cells, and passes into the body of the leaf gradually; the greater development is perhaps central; even now the bulk of the cells of the leaflet have green granules, and are opaque from air. The vessels are marked out, or at least their future course, and along them the opacity from air does not exist, so that the veins appear depressed.

The next stage presented a greater development of an isolation of the margin, but no other change. The next presented an isolation of the margin, which remains almost white, the other part being green, but more so because of a thickening as it were along the base of the marginal part, and an evident deposit of grumous matter, from which, under every circumstance new tissue seems always to be developed. Pressure causes its discharge, its contents were unappreciated by my poor instruments; after this the leaflets revert to the appearance of the second stage. Here I ceased for the day, having I think ascertained that ferns are endorhizal, and that the primary divisions of the roots hence have sheaths, which adhere to the apex of the root itself.—What a strange union of roots, that of monocotyledons in the main divisions, and of pure acrogens in the minor!!

I cannot help thinking that the secret is hidden in these ramenta, which, as is known, are so universal as obviously to have higher functions than those of mere covering scales. The appearance of those I have described as existing about the points of growth, are exactly the same as the processes mixed with the anthers of mosses, and of which the anthers are nothing but more developed growths; this would point out, as indeed appears to me otherwise evident, (especially from consideration of the theca, and its want of style,) that ferns are lower organised as sexual beings than mosses and Hepaticae. I know nothing of Lycopodineae, more than they are the highest of all acrogens; and are not to be included in the same category with ferns.

The objection to the ramenta being anthers, will be the closed nature (apparently) of the terminal cell, and although the anthers of mosses do burst, and most especially those of Hepaticae, yet the argument is not conclusive—inasmuch as boyaux, to which they are analogous do not open?

These ramenta explain fully the nature of those confervoid organs found in some Neckerae, and perhaps in other mosses, and it becomes paramount to prove whether these Neckerae have also the usual anthers, or if they are confined to these, in which case a presumptive proof will thus be afforded of their functions: if they have both forms, they will nevertheless constitute an analogous passage between the two orders: if they have only these, such Neckerae will form, as indeed they do, a very distinct genus.

The nature of the barren fronds requires distinct analysis. Are they barren from mere deficiency in supplies, such as may result from many circumstances; or are the antheriform ramenta deficient? They are barren from defective growth. I am aware how readily objection may be taken to these views, some will say these young ramenta are nothing but young scales as the older ones evidently are scales; but this amounts to nothing, because we may expect simplicity in the sexual organs of this division, and it will be only a proof of the uniformity of nature in making so great a difference in a function depend on, or be associated with so small a one in form. My view I think explains their uniformly brown colour—analogous to Brown's sphacelation in mutatis mutandis.

Others will say how absurd the idea is, when you cannot show the place to which the impregnating influence is to be applied. But the consideration of mosses does away with this objection partly, and that of Anthoceros, entirely; because in mosses, the ovule, or pre-existing cell, ready to receive the male influence becomes an empty cell, terminating the seta; and the sporula become developed at its opposite end, the first growth appearing to be quite unconnected with that of the future reproductive organs: and in Anthoceros there is no fixed punctum ready for the application of the male organs, but these have to form a communication with the lower, or inferior cellular tissue of the frond, before even the growth of seta can commence.

Besides a case in point exists in Viscum, or Loranthus, in which no point is ready prepared for the reception of the male influence; showing how universal the law is, that in no one point or place is there an absolute want of gradation.

As in mosses the influence of the male disregarding the ovule, is thrown into the development of the seta, and then of the theca at the apex of this; there can be no conclusive reason why in ferns the same influence should be thrown into the development of the frond, and then into that of the theca.

While Anthoceros proves that in these orders the male influence may exert its effects upon any point.

As there is no styliform production in Anthoceros, so there is none in ferns. If the ramenta be anthers, they will not be dubious ones, because as they remain fixed, people cannot say, that possibly they are also reproductive bodies, which by the bye is no objection at all, after instances of anthers bearing ovules instead of pollen!

Why the peculiar distribution of the male influence (on which we determine our genera,) takes place, is another question, and one that cannot be fairly asked?

Why it is confined to the under surface perhaps can, it being a law that in all cases it is the under surface of the leaf, or its modification, from which new growths originate, and as nature has closed indusia, how could the under surface be interior if this rule were not regularly adhered to?

That the indusium is a special organ, i.e. not an eruption of the cuticle, I am sure; hence it is essential to examine extensively both indusiate and other forms, the precise extension of their veins, etc. at an early period to ascertain if their most diversified situations cannot be reduced to some one type.

Query. Is the gyrate vernation of any ferns comparable to the form of certain shells, to which (at least Mollusca) ferns are supposed to be analogous.

Memo. To ascertain the most peculiar, and most universal points of Mollusca and Pseudo cotyledonea, it is in this way that we may hope to extend our views. Some there are indeed who, while the whole course of their studies has been to neglect structure, deny the applicability of presumptive evidence in favour of doctrines, the subjects of which are barely susceptible of direct proof. Thus Greville and Arnott, angrily ask, what do persons mean by saying that mosses have pistilla, etc.? they protest against such community of application in the use of terms. Many more deny sexuality because it has not been proved. Considering the invisible nature of the fluid of the anthers of mosses, etc. how do they expect that we are to demonstrate its application to the pistil, and the subsequent steps? As well might they doubt the necessity of the application of the boyau to an ovule, (or the existence of the boyau itself,) because the derivation of the embryo cannot be proved.

One word more; in all cases the appearance of the reproductive body after impregnation, is of late date; that date becomes later as we descend the scale. The embryonary sac of Phaenogams does not always exist at the time of application of the boyau, and the appearance of the embryo is always posterior to this.

Again, ferns are superior to mosses in this, that in many cases the male influence is exerted directly on the parts that become the thecae, which is not the case in mosses.

18th.—Continued examining ferns, and to-day completes my knowledge of the ramenta of three different genera.

In the first which is Cryptogamma, the resemblance of the young ramenta to the anthers of Jungermannia is evident enough, they are capital, and the head is at one period filled with granular matter: so are the cells throughout, to a greater or less extent. They are to be seen in all stages of development on the pinnae of a very young frond, those near its base having perhaps effected their purpose, while those at the apex of the pinna, or the prolonging part of pinnula, may be formed of only one cell. It is curious that the terminal cell does not become spherical for some time: in its earlier stages it is cylindrical like the rest.

The appearances of the old ones are, if possible, more markedly in favour of my hypothesis; there is the same aggregation of grumous congealed matter about the ends of each cell, the same curious communication between these masses which hide the septa from view, evincing a greater or less tendency to assume the peculiar fuscesent or fusco-brown appearance. I observed in two instances what appeared to me decided irregular openings in the terminal cell, from one of which grumous filaments projected; these appeared to communicate with the mass in the terminal cell, which like that in all the others, is congealed; but it assumes a different and very undefined form.

People may object and say, why were not more met with opened? This is no objection, because it is obvious that a spherical body may be opened in part of its surface, and yet unless this portion happens to be on the edge as it were of the sphere, it may escape detection with a microscope of poor penetration.

In this the ramenta are confined, or nearly so, to the under surface of the fronds. Most occupy that which is called the costa. In this the first change as in Adiantum is in the definition of the margin. But this point I have not paid much attention to, as with my present means here, it would be absurd to attempt proving how the fecundation takes place; all that I can attempt is, to ascertain from structure and analogy, the male nature of these curious bodies.

See Plate B for the various sketches. {450}

The next genus examined, is perhaps the instance in which these ramenta have the strongest resemblance to ordinary simple hairs, both in their young, when they represent succulent, tinged, grumous molecular-containing hairs, and in the old, when they represent long, flattened, coriaceous hairs, still there is abundant evidence to prove that, however different these bodies are in appearance from those of Cryptogamma, that they undergo the same changes, excepting perhaps as to dehiscence. We have a tendency to fuscous colouring, a tendency to the aggregation of congealed matter about the septae, precisely the places where it is to be expected. The same appearance of a canal of communication, the same irregular constriction of certain cells; in this too the first change in the pinnae, or its component lobes, is the definition of the margin. In this genus the under surface of the frond is covered with these hairy-form bodies (which have been figured over and over again in Hooker and Greville's ferns): on the upper face, a few exist, but incomparably less developed.

From the examination of this genus alone, I do not think the idea I have been so diffuse upon, would have struck me.

To-morrow I examine Ceterach, assured that the scales of its under face are reducible to the same type. In a matter of such interest and importance as this, many will, and with reason, dislike so important an assumption on such inconclusive evidence. But with our present means, it appears to me probable that no evidence to demonstration can be looked for, and for this reason, that the contents of these peculiar cells are so subtile as to escape definition even while in their cells, (or under the most favourable circumstance for a concentration of attention.) How much more so will this be the case, when we attempt to examine the steps of the application of the fecundatory matter, applied over a surface without any prominent points, and probably opaque.

When direct evidence is not to be had, we are justified in using presumptive evidence. As in human law, so in the laws of nature, presumptive evidence to a practised eye carries with it conviction. We have no direct evidence how the embryo is formed, yet no one doubts but that it is brought about by the agency of the boyau, which is a cell containing grumous molecular matter. However different a boyau may seem to many, yet when viewed in conjunction with Cycadeae, the graduation to the present case becomes natural, and even the resemblance may be perfect, because in Cycas the grains of pollen get into the nucleus bodily, although they would still seem to throw out short tails.

Wonderful is the simplicity of nature! The male organ in its essence, consists of a single cell containing molecular matter.

The female in its essence consists of a single cell, likewise containing similar matter. The influence of the male is exerted, and so another cell is formed in the female cell, and this either becomes the embryo, or gives origin to another cell, and so on, until the terminal one becomes the embryo.

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