Diary 1909, January 22nd. Hotel Suisse, Cairo.
'Reached Port Said yesterday morning, and after waiting half the morning in cold wet draught of wind, got to Cairo at 5 p.m. Too late to go round and look for lodgings, so spent the night at the Bristol Hotel; mistaking it for Hotel de Nil, where I stayed when with the wife and Ivy and "Sairey” some thirty-two years ago!'
Saturday, January 30th.
'Removed from Suisse Pension, which was Suisse in nothing save the name! food, too awful. Have now a cheerful south bedroom in apartments kept by a Mrs Scott. A lady reminding me in many ways of David Copperfield's aunt, and quite capable of tackling triumphantly as many Miss Murdstones as care to "come on!” Shall have been in this cheerful room a week to-morrow; a week that has been, if with ups and downs, yet I have done, and enjoyed doing, some drawing out on the Mohattan Hills, an old subject of mine, but one that might well be done again and again. So for these great blessing of renewed health, I ought to be exceeding grateful; expecially to find myself able to work is delightful; for spending money extravagantly with no results would have been to me dreadful. Went one day to the Tombs of the Caliphes, but remembering my former unpleasant experience with the Arabs there, I had a man and a donkey. My donkey man (a silent morose man) took me through the solitary lanes and dead streets, winding about, seemingly quite aimlessly. I was not at all sure of him and I suppose I got reminded of that other experience: so that, when at a particularly dark, silent corner, he suddenly said, “No man die before life finish!” I instantly felt round for a weapon of offence.'