Somewhere en route down India's holy river, Eric Newby remarks, ""We were in a fix, really the last of a succession of fixes, but the overcoming of insuperable difficulties is, of course, one of the unspoken reasons for traveling in remote places."" His account reads accordingly, from borrowing the first boat and digging passage for it unceremoniously within hailing distance of his debarkation point until he and his wife Wanda finally made it to the sea at Calcutta. They plied the river with boatmen, rode buses and trains, slept near jungle, in bridgemasters' huts, in a railroad station waiting room (""a night both to remember and forget""). They were surrounded by pandas and pilgrims, and ruins. Mr. Newby recalls earlier times, his own as a soldier at Kathgarh, those of religion and spectacle elsewhere as the Newbys make their journey. But it is the coping, through thickets of language and misunderstanding, with the complaint that ""killed off a large proportion of the members of the East India Company,"" with balky boats, luggage, people, that becomes the reader's as well as the travellers' concern. Newby, who once took that more interesting A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, has managed to muddle through, a trifle frayed, once again.