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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

And came on into Pahlgam this forenoon


Over the beds of dirty snow, down by the side of the new-born torrent, which leaped full-grown to life from the womb of a green cavern below the glacier; over patches of pulpy turf just freed from its wintry bondage, and already carpeted with masses of rose-coloured primulas, we hastened, keeping to the left bank of the stream, in order to avoid the torrent which had so troubled us in the morning, which we knew would be deeper in the afternoon owing to the melting of the snows in the sunshine.

We had got but a bare half of our journey done when the storm burst, and in a very short time we were reduced to the recklessness which comes of being as wet as you can possibly be.

"The thunder bellows far from snow to snow (Home, Rose and Home, Provence and La Palie), And loud and louder roars the flood below. Heigho! But soon in shelter we shall be (Home, Rose and Home, Provence and La Palie)."

Crossing the river on a big snow-bridge below the point where our old enemy came thundering down the mountain-side, we tramped gaily through mud and mire and over slippery rocks until we were gladdened by the sight of our camp, dripping away peacefully in the midst of the weeping forest.

The rain, as usual, ceased in the evening. A great camp-fire was lit, and the neighbouring buffaloes of Gujar-Kote having kindly supplied us with milk, we dined wisely and well and dropped off to sleep, lulled by the roaring of the Kolahoi River, which raced through the darkness close by.

_Tuesday, June 27_.--Being still hopeful of achieving the pass over into the Sind, we struck camp early yesterday and marched down to Lidarwat, only to find that the party which we knew had camped there with a view to crossing, had given up the idea and retreated down the valley; so I sent a swift messenger to countermand the three days' supply of "rassad" which I had ordered from Pahlgam for my men, and we marched on to Aru. Upon the spur which overlooks Aru we found Dr. Neve encamped, and proceeded to discuss the possibility of crossing into the Sind Valley _via_ Sekwas, Khem Sar, and Koolan. The Doctor, who is an enterprising mountaineer, was himself about to cross, but he did not encourage Jane to go and do likewise, as he said it would be very difficult owing to the late spring, and would probably entail a good deal of work with ropes and ice-axes.

This absolutely decided us, our valour being greatly tempered by discretion, and we camped quietly at Aru, and came on into Pahlgam this forenoon. The river, for some reason best known to itself, was so low that we got dry-shod past the corner which had worried us so much on the way up.

[1] This is incorrect, the European Residents having frequently attempted, but hitherto vainly, to induce the native authorities to curb Kashmiri cruelty.

CHAPTER XI


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