CHAPTER XVII
THE HILLS OF THE DEAD

THESE winter visitors to Egypt are, as I have endeavoured to explain, for the most part in a buoyant frame of mind. The gloomy grandeur of the ancient monuments does not greatly impress, and is far indeed from depressing, them. They have come to the Nile only incidentally to inspect temples and tombs; their main quest is for a good climate and a good time. As to the former they sometimes have to pretend pretty hard in order to persuade themselves that they are thoroughly satisfied, for Egypt in December and January is not all warmth and sunny sky. They get their best time as a rule in Upper Egypt, when they have exchanged the relaxing air of Cairo for the bracing dryness of Assuan and Luxor. In the latter place, that centre of colossal ruins and amazing monuments, they can enjoy themselves very much; and, if they do full justice to the excellent cuisine and other highly modern amenities of the hotels, they do not fail to pay their respects to the stupendous remains of Karnak, and make frequent pilgrimages across the river to the plain and necropolis of Thebes.

One might well come from the ends of the earth to Egypt, if Egypt had nothing else to show but these

-162-

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