Just a moment ..


Except Petra, Palmyra is the loveliest thing I have seen in this country. And to sleep for nine hours, as it proved. I have made for myself an enormous muslin bag in which I sleep and which protects me from all biting animals down to sand flies.

  • Then I had a long talk with Auntie Mary, who seems very brisk and well.
  • It makes me want to be back more than ever.
  • I was shown it by the curator, Paribene, who took Eugénie and me around.
  • I went to the house of the Vice-Consul, a very able Greek, and he directed me to the best hotel.
  • Anyhow after half-an-hour’s searching we discovered he was not with us, and having spent an hour in looking for him, he turned up from quite a different direction, and we all cursed him, poor old thing, for wasting our time and energies.

It is excessively bewildering to be deprived of the use of one’s eyes in this way. We had a ten hours’ march to reach the water by which we are camped. It lies in a wide shallow basin of mud, most of it is dried up, but a few pools remain in the deeper parts. The Arabs use some sort of white chalky stone–is it chalk? We boil the water, powder the chalk and put it in and it takes nearly all the mud down to the bottom. I found my camp pitched in Mahin near the water, and hundreds of camels drinking near it.


Fried shrimp, fish, and oysters are the other stars-order a platter and revel in the pure perfection of the whole scene. Diners on a schedule know to arrive by 5 pm to skip the counter-serve’s long line. Singles and couples can usually grab a bar seat, or just embrace the line as part of the experience.

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Meantime I shall continue to tell you of my adventures, if you have time to think of them! One rides for hours over beautiful well watered country without seeing an inch of ploughed ground. We are riding towards a high Snowy range of mountains, at the foot of which Aphrodisias lies. The town must have been distinguished above all other places for the elaborate beauty of its architecture; every doorway was covered with scrolls of fruit and flowers with birds and beasts entwined in them. I photographed and explored and when I got back to my horses I realised that I had lost my coat. I had taken it off some half an hour after we reached Khirbet Hass and fastened it on to my saddle, it had dropped off and was gone.


I asked him if he thought they were worth doing and he replied that indeed he did. He is full of offers of assistance and wants to read all that I have done, which from a busy man is, I think, the best proof that he likes what he has seen. Arabic flies along-I shall soon be able to read the Arabian Nights for fun.

  • It’s a very extraordinary place, the stage; the third scene of Siegfried was set.
  • The thing is to be of the best use one can and I feel certain that this position would give me far greatter opportunities and that I can put them to profit.
  • No sooner was my coming observed than one of the inhabitants appeared with a large tray of fried eggs, curds and bread for me and my servants.
  • We went on, skirting the hills, north by east.

But I still hope the things may be in time for next winter, when I shall doubtless be glad of them. I don’t want any books on Persia, thank you, and as I never seem to have time to read anything, even books on Mesopotamia are unnecessary. I have written straight to Batsford at various times for essentials, and perhaps some day they will come.