102 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
as Wo"ll as to) w1rOves. TOY SeCIII(O as merry ;is
possible at the prospect of being sold and of soon finding, each of them, a master and a home.
A journey so far as Khartum was then thought something of a feat, even in Syria, and Ali, as I am convinced, greatly fibbed about my social importance. It must have been on that account that the Governor of the Quarantine, or whatever his title may have been, relaxed his restrictions on my behalf so greatly as to call down severe newspaper criticism on his acts of favouritism. In fact, we made a champagne picnic together in two boats, under the sole condition of the party in the one not touching any one in the other. For a similar reason, as I suppose, I was invited and entertained in a most stately way at the palace of a Druse chief, situated among the hills.
I bought travelling gear at Beyrout, and went inland to buy a pair of horses for myself and Ali, because it was not easy to hire good riding-horses, though baggage-horses could always be had. I set myself up in style, with tent and extra walls, a canteen, and handsome coffee and pipe apparatus. On arrival at the place where the horses were to be bought, I camped on ground intersected with ditches of stagnant water-a most insanitary-looking place. I caught there a sharp intermittent fever which plagued me for years, and, though often kept in abeyance for a long time together, has occasionally recurred most unexpectedly. It is only a few weeks now since I had an attack of it. I returned with my horses to Beyrout, but was too unwell to make much use of therlm.
After some wanderings, I settled in Damascus,