CHAPTER THE FIFTH
‘South we went towards Abu Zabal, past deserted
Helmieh and its lost block-houses in the sands, into
that quiet, pale country.’

Subchapter i

FANTASTIC as might be the nature of the search on which we were setting forth, neither Huebsch nor Marrot displayed impracticability. From morning till night I was in constant activity here, there and the many other places all over Cairo. They had sold or otherwise disposed of their archaeological equipment in the Jordan Valley, and fresh tools in abundance had to be procured—spades, levels, sieves and filters, casket-like crates wherein to bestow the treasures buried so long ago by the renegade Levite or other weak-brained ancient. With Marrot for adviser I also engaged the native labourers and purchased provisions.

There were ten labourers—Egyptian fellaheen, all of them, immigrant countrymen who had found the life of Cairo no great improvement on the immemorial slavery of Nile-bank’s little fields. Marrot would have offered them double the current rate of wages, but I restrained him.

“That is far above the normal rate.”

-62-

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