The Spell of Egypt by Robert Hichens


The great bees hummed more drowsily. I sat quite still in the sun. And
then presently, moved by some prompting - Page 20
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The Great Bees Hummed More Drowsily.

I sat quite still in the sun.

And then presently, moved by some prompting instinct, I turned my head, and, far off, through the narrow portal of the temple, I saw the girl- child swathed in purple still lying, sinuously as a young snake, upon the palm-wood roof above the brown earth wall to watch me with her eyes of cloud and fire.

And upon me, like cloud and fire - cloud of the tombs and the great temple columns, fire of the brilliant life painted and engraved upon them - there stole the spell of Egypt.



I do not find in Egypt any more the strangeness that once amazed, and at first almost bewildered me. Stranger by far is Morocco, stranger the country beyond Biskra, near Mogar, round Touggourt, even about El Kantara. There I feel very far away, as a child feels distance from dear, familiar things. I look to the horizon expectant of I know not what magical occurrences, what mysteries. I am aware of the summons to advance to marvellous lands, where marvellous things must happen. I am taken by that sensation of almost trembling magic which came to me when first I saw a mirage far out in the Sahara. But Egypt, though it contains so many marvels, has no longer for me the marvellous atmosphere. Its keynote is seductiveness.

In Egypt one feels very safe. Smiling policemen in clothes of spotless white - emblematic, surely, of their innocence!

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