"ESCAPE" TO THE ARABS
Soon the snorers' chorus mixed with other weird noises in the room. The place became smelly, stuffy, heavy with the odors of perspiring bodies and unwashed feet. I began to itch, first around the neck then my ankles, my legs, thighs, chest, armpits. A sleeping Arab rolled over and blew his hot breath against my face. . . . The heat and stench became more and more oppressive. What did I expect? I had forgotten the East during my sojourn in the West.
OVER the convent wall the sky turned purple-pink, then purple, then gray, till finally all color disappeared, and darkness became one with the landscape. The thousand and one eyes that I imagined were watching had been swallowed by the blackness of night. Quickly I got up, shouldered my bag, and advanced another seventy-five yards or so, changing to the other side of the valley split by the footpath. I listened. Deir Aboutor was quiet with a dead silence. No light flickered from the Arab dwellings. They rose against the ridge blacker than the blackness around them. Every tree, every landmark was a grim sentry, watching me in silence. The night was filled with eyes.
From the lower end of the valley--where I would have expected the footpath to lead me--there now came the sound
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Publication information: Book title: Cairo to Damascus. Contributors: John Roy Carlson - Author. Publisher: Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1951. Page number: 294.
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