CHAPTER THE SECOND
‘“And, as the manuscript relates, the Trumpet…
had been stolen and carried away by a renegade
Levite.”’

Subchapter i

I RODE into Cairo on a tram-car, and, as we swerved by the bend that leads to Abbassieh, the Gift of the River, the City of Many Colours, the Heart of Masr, lay revealed before us. There was the dark bulking of Abbassieh, where English soldiers lounge in boredom and dusty khaki at barrack-entrances and the little Greek folk of the catering trades chatter over dank fruit in danker alleys. There, dark-blue in the west, was Koubbah; and in a shimmer far to the south, Manchiet el Sadr. The day was shining like a burnished shield over the strange city of Mansur in which for ten long years I had guided the curiosities of the tourist and restrained the curiosities of myself.

So I came at last, though not by tram-car, but walking through the sun-haze of dust-ochred streets, to the house of Adrian in Shoubra. I stopped outside the house, I remember, in the hot flare of the sun, thinking of the first time I had entered it—that morning ten years before, when Adrian had found

-25-

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