... I felt wretched and
feverish: and yet I had delightful interlusive recollections, in between, of
that lovely little Gh ziyah, who danced that exquisite, marvellous, entrancing,
delicious, and awfully oriental dance that I saw in the afternoon.
By Jove, she was a beautiful creature. Eyes like two full moons; hair like
Milton's Penseroso; movements like a poem of Swinburne's set to action. If
Editha was only a faint picture of that girl now! Upon my word, I was falling in
love with a Gh ziyah!
Then the mosquitoes came again. Buzz — buzz — buzz. I make a lunge at the
loudest and biggest, a sort of prima donna in their infernal opera. I kill the
prima donna, but ten more shrill performers come in its place. The frogs croak
dismally in the reedy shallows. The night grows hotter and hotter still. At last,
I can stand it no longer. I rise up, dress myself lightly, and jump ashore to
find some way of passing the time.
Yonder, across the flat, lies the great unopened Pyramid of Abu Yilla. We are
going to-morrow to climb to the top; but I will take a turn to reconnoitre in
that direction now. I walk across the moonlit fields, my soul still divided
between Editha and the Gh ziyah, and approach the solemn mass of huge,
antiquated granite blocks standing out so grimly against the pale horizon. I
feel half awake, half asleep, and altogether feverish: but I poke about the base
in an aimless sort of way, with a vague idea that I may perhaps discover by
chance the secret of its sealed entrance, which has ere now baffled so many
pertinacious explorers and learned Egyptologists.
As I walk along the base, I remember old Herodotus's story, like a page from the
'Arabian Nights', of how King Rhampsinitus built himself a treasury, wherein one
stone turned on a pivot like a door; and how the builder availed himself of this
his cunning device to steal gold from the king's storehouse. Suppose the
entrance to the unopened Pyramid should be by such a door. It would be curious
if I should chance to light upon the very spot...