Our traveller did not reach Nazri that night for many reasons, of which the chief shall be told. The way to Nazri is long and the way to Nazri is exceedingly rough. Leaving the table-land you plunge down a trackless gully into the dry bed of a stream. Thence it is an hour’s uneasy walking among stagnant pools and granite boulders to the foot of another nullah which runs up to the heart of the hills. From this you pick your way along the precipitous side of a mountain, and if your head is good and your feet sure, may come eventually to a place like the roof of the house, beyond which lies a thicket of thorn-bushes and the Nazri gully. At first sight the thing seems impossible, but by a bold man it can be crossed either in the untanned Kashmir shoes or with the naked feet.
Lewis had not gone a mile and had barely reached the dry watercourse, when the weather broke utterly in a storm of mist and fine rain. At other times this chill weather would have been a comfort, but here in these lonely altitudes, with a difficult path before him, its result was to confound confusion. So long as he stuck to the stream he had some guidance; it was hard, even when the air was like a damp blanket, to mistake the chaos of boulder and shingle which meant the channel. But the mist was close to him and wrapped him in like a quilt, and he looked in vain for the foot of the nullah he must climb. He tried keeping by the edge and feeling his way, but it only landed him in a ditch of stagnant slime. The thing was too vexatious, and his temper went; and with his temper his last chance of finding his road. When he had stumbled for what seemed hours he sat down on a boulder and whistled dismally. The stream belonged to another watershed. If he followed it, assuming that he did not break his neck over a dry cataract, he would be through the mountains and near Taghati quicker than he intended. Meantime the miserable George would wait at Nazri, would rouse the Khautmi garrison on a false alarm, and would find himself irretrievably separated from his friend. The thought was so full of irritation, that he resolved not to stir one step further. He would spend the night if need be in this place and wait till the mist lifted.
He found a hollow among the boulders, and improvidently ate half his store of sandwiches. Then, finding his throat dry, he got up to hunt for water. A trickle afar off in the rocks led him on, and sure enough he found water; but when he tried to retrace his steps to his former resting place he found that he had forgotten the way. This new place was conspicuously less sheltered, but he sat down on the wet gravel, lit a pipe with difficulty, and with his knees close to his chin strove to possess his soul in patience.