Distress in the Himalayas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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