My Servants, Helped By The Arabs, Busied Themselves In Pitching The
Tent And Kindling The Fire.
Whilst this was doing I used to walk
away towards the east, confiding in the print of my foot as a guide
for my return.
Apart from the cheering voices of my attendants I
could better know and feel the loneliness of the Desert. The
influence of such scenes, however, was not of a softening kind, but
filled me rather with a sort of childish exultation in the self-
sufficiency which enabled me to stand thus alone in the wideness of
Asia - a short-lived pride, for wherever man wanders he still
remains tethered by the chain that links him to his kind; and so
when the night closed around me I began to return, to return, as it
were, to my own gate. Reaching at last some high ground I could
see, and see with delight, the fire of our small encampment, and
when at last I regained the spot it seemed to me a very home that
had sprung up for me in the midst of these solitudes. My Arabs
were busy with their bread; Mysseri rattling tea-cups; the little
kettle, with her odd old-maidish looks, sat humming away old songs
about England; and two or three yards from the fire my tent stood
prim and tight, with open portal, and with welcoming look, like
"the old arm-chair" of our lyrist's "sweet Lady Anne."
At the beginning of my journey the night breeze blew coldly; when
that happened, the dry sand was heaped up outside round the skirts
of the tent, and so the wind, that everywhere else could sweep as
he listed along those dreary plains, was forced to turn aside in
his course and make way, as he ought, for the Englishman.
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