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of India is now impossible. Nor shall we find much This vast Empire, with its more hope in the burning words three hundred and fifty million of Professor Athanasius Gigglesinhabitants, must now continue wick, the eminent mugwump. with ever-increasing momen- He spares no words in extum to follow the course on pressing his satisfaction : "The which it has been launched. great and beneficent act," says Kings who abdicate may be he, "of the emancipation of wise or foolish, but there can India, known loosely as the be no question as to the folly Reforms, seems to me the of a king who, having abdi- noblest act of statesmanship cated, wishes to resume the effected since the abandonsceptre. For him there re- ment of Britain by Honorius." mains nothing but the halter He sees plainly, does Athanaof Maximian or the dungeon sius, that the first thing is to of Victor." And so with a get rid of the alien. "The tragic humour Mr Al. Cart- foreign bureaucracy must go, hill sketches the views held of he says, "and their places be India by the absurd personages taken by a permanent band of whom his dramatic sense has ardent young salaried patriots." created. John Collins, the offi- And when it is all over, when cial optimist, has no doubts. John Collins and Athanasius He is sure that the grant of Giggleswick have had their say, full responsible government when Panditji has had his will, can no longer be delayed. what then? The men from “ India,” says he, “will be the hills will descend into the free to make her own des- plains, and make an end of tinies. . . . An equal partner Moslems and Hindus alike. in the Empire, and no longer They will be murdered, the

mere possession, she also Moslems and Hindus, and their will develop the exuberant women will be carried off, the loyalty which is characteristic slaves of the conquerors. Then of the Dominions. She will at last shall Panditji and all require no foreign troops, no his heresies be avenged. But foreign officers, no foreign offi- the responsibility of the mascials." We remember Ireland, sacre will not rest upon him. and we tremble at the silly It will rest upon the feeble optimism of John Collins, who personages from Burke and naturally is quite sure that “in Macaulay down to Montagu and serious cases the League of Rufus Isaacs, who took upon Nations would intervene to their shoulders a burden which protect one of its members they were not good enough nor from serious trouble!”

wise enough to bear.

Printed in Great Britain by
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS.

BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.

No. MCCCIV.

JUNE 1924.

VOL. CCXV.

THE ROADS OF THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER.

BY MAJOR-GENERAL SIR GEORGE K. SCOTT-MONCRIEFF,

K.C.B., K.C.M.G., C.I.E.

In the autumn of one of the fined features, with silver hair, early years of the present cen- kindly face, and charming mantury I was returning to India ners. One might have supafter short leave, and among posed him to be a scion of the motley crowd of people some ancient patrician house, that one meets in a P. & O. but as a matter of fact this steamer at that season, I had was not the case, for I learnt the good fortune to be thrown that his origin was a humble into the society of an elderly one, his education attained gentleman who was travelling with difficulty, and his early to the East for the first time. life a struggle. But he had It may, indeed, have been his been successful in business, first journey outside the limits and had concurrently devoted of Great Britain, for he showed himself to philanthropic work fresh and enthusiastic interest and social problems directed in all that he saw, and all that towards the amelioration of he saw appeared to be new and the lives of the humbler classes unfamiliar. He was a Member of the community. To this of Parliament, and had sat laudable work he had brought for some industrial constituency to bear much practical and for many years. At that time personal experience, and the he was also Under-Secretary influence of a very sympathetic in some department of the nature. State concerned with interior In the curiously intimate and not foreign affairs. In routine of a board-ship life appearance he was a man of wherein one is brought into singularly handsome and re- close association with total VOL. CCXV.-NO. MCCCIV.

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strangers, sometimes to find next day if this could be that they are angels unawares, arranged. Nothing could be though often one parts with easier, and I made all arrangethem at the close of the voyage ments accordingly, only renever to meet again—we be- gretting that pressure of duty came very friendly, and, pos- prevented me from accompanysibly from the very fact that ing him personally. He asked our paths in life were over very me to dine with him at his dissimilar lines of travel, we hotel the following evening, had a good deal to say to one both because he would like to another. Arrival at Bombay ask me about frontier matters, severed our acquaintance, and and also he wished to tell me we bade each other farewell of his delightful and interesting amid the usual bustle of land- experiences since we parted at ing. He went off, armed with Bombay. introductions to “governors, Accordingly, the following councillors, and all in authority evening I arrived at the hotel

, under our King,” and to see to learn that the arrangements the sights of India, while I for the day had worked quite took the familiar road once smoothly. A young officer had more to the North-West Fron- met him at Jamrud, and had tier, the only part of India shown him the old fort there that I know well, and, to my at the mouth of the Pass. mind, the part best worthy of Then he had accompanied the a man's service. My friend visitor through the defile to and I parted with many ex- Ali Musjid, pointing out all pressions of hope, rather than the various matters of interest of expectation, that we should on the way. They had climbed meet again.

up the steep path to the fort However, as it happened, which dominates the centre of we did chance to meet. I the Pass, and, after admiring was riding along the road past the view there, had descended Government House in Pesha- and proceeded up the precipwar one day some months later, itous gorge a little farther on. when out of one of the usual There they had come across a shabby carriages then obtain- kafila, or drove of shaggy able at hotels, there emerged camels, laden with merchandise my friend, intent on writing from Central Asia, in charge his name in the Chief Commis- of traders, picturesque but sioner's book. Mutual recog- rough - looking men, clad in nition was followed by cordial greasy sheepskin coats and greeting, and I asked if I baggy breeches, with their could help him in any way. womenfolk and fierce dogs. He had just arrived, and his All of this evidently had intertime was very limited, but he ested our British statesman would like to make a little ex- intensely. He had driven back cursion up the Khyber Pass in comfort, arriving in ample

time for dinner after a most ing and working hard for chilpleasant day in bright sunshine dren from whom they had and crisp cold air.

parted years before, and who He proceeded to tell me with

growing up among pleasure of his other experi- strangers, affections on both ences in India, dwelling not so sides becoming inevitably colder much upon the architectural as years went on. All this had beauties of Agra and Delhi, impressed itself most vividly or the historical associations on his mind as something that of Cawnpore and Lucknow was unspeakably pathetic and (though he had thoroughly ap- full of unconscious nobility, preciated these), as on the moral for it was part of the task qualities of his countrymen we had as a nation to bear, a and countrywomen, hitherto duty to an alien people, who unsuspected by him, which now before our coming had been elicited his warmest admiration. torn asunder by internal strife, He had been the guest of great and for whom now we had promen, and he was grateful for vided peace and justice. But their hospitality, but he had what seemed to me all part of tried to see a little below the day's work was to him a that high level, and he found marvel in that no complaints that the great administrative on the subject were made, and machine, both in official and in the House no questions private life, was being carried were asked ! on by the continual and cumu This turned the talk to Parlative self-denial of thousands liament, and as dinner proof his own people in exile. ceeded he poured forth most Hitherto all this had been to amusing anecdotes of the varihim a matter of vague and ous leaders on both sides whom shadowy possibility; now it was he had known. All he had to say an admirable reality. Certain was as new to me as the scenery politicians had accused these of the Khyber was new to compatriots of his of living him, and I was much interested. in luxury; he saw little signs I was in no way tired of this of that, for the conditions of cheery and good-humoured gostheir lives showed that, in sip, when, the recollection of addition to isolation and family the day no doubt passing over separation, there was the ever- his mind, he suddenly paused present risk of illness, with and saidmedical assistance often diffi “I suppose the Khyber, and cult to obtain, and, in many the road I drove over to-day, seasons of the year, intense is important as being the only climatic discomfort. Above all, route from India to Afghanistan and most trying of all burdens, and Central Asia ?were the family separations, This question came to me as husbands and wives living a shock. Ignorance of Indian necessarily apart, parents sav- affairs is universal and to a

great extent excusable among formation, he asked for more the mass of our people at details. home, and the average Mem Laying my right hand, palm ber of Parliament knows little downwards, and fingers outof the subject and cares less, spread on the table, I repliedjudging by the attendance in “My fingers represent the the House of Commons when five routes from this province, the matter of India is under not to scale, of course, nor in discussion. But here was one length proportionate to their who, if not a great statesman, importance, but still with suffiwas at least a politician hold. cient accuracy for the purposes ing office in the Government of a diagram. These fingers of the day, and yet he was not show the valleys, and the blank aware of the condition of affairs wedge-shaped parts indicate on the one land-frontier of the mountainous country lying the Empire where we are in between the valleys, country touch with the actual possi- which is only partially surbilities of warfare. He ap- veyed, and is inhabited by parently thought this Achilles fierce tribes, constantly at war heel of His Majesty's dominions with each other, and owing was an impassable wall, such allegiance neither to the Amir as the Himalayas, and that this of Afghanistan nor the British. wall was penetrable by one To-day you saw blockhouses door only. From the average guarding here and there the M.P. one would not have been road through the Pass. These surprised to hear such a ques- are placed on the tradetion, but he was far above the routes for the protection of the average, one of the best of trader; otherwise highway robwhite men, full of appreciation, bery would be universal and and anxious to see below the trade almost impossible. The surface.

four knuckles of my hand So after a pause I replied represent the four towns in that it was very far from this province from which the being the case that there was routes proceed-Peshawar, Koonly one route into Central hat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Asia. In the North-West Fron- Khan,-though here again the tier Province alone there were proportionate distances are imfive such trade-routes leading perfectly represented, for the to Afghanistan, not to mention distance between the first two other and important roads far- is less than half the intervals ther south, by Quetta to Kan- between the others respectively. dahar, and in the north to- There is a good road, recently wards Chitral, and north-east made, from Peshawar to Kohat, through Kashmir, into Central and a still better road, finished Asia.

about ten years ago, from This roused his curiosity at Kohat to Bannu and Dera

Alert for all useful in- Ismail, but this is the only

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