By Julie Hankey
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Additional info for A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs'
Both Garstang and Mace were Oxford graduates. The world was sure to find a place for them, Petrie or no Petrie. Weigall had no degree, and everything depended on how he performed at that instant. Thus, in November 1901, when Weigall embarked for Egypt on the P. & O. ’ Luckily the master was to join the ship at Marseilles, so there were a few days of freedom. Grey England was behind him, golden Egypt ahead of him at last, and the sky was getting bluer by the day: One evening there was a dance … I indulged in a slight but sentimental ‘affair’ with a girl who was going out to Egypt for the winter; and I remember leaning over the rail with her in the moonlight, and talking about life in a sort of ecstasy of youth.
He was no more inclined to settle to his German grammar than he had been to his Greek. ’ to myself, like a child at a circus … I often found it very difficult not to perform a sort of war-dance in the public street. 24 FROM PEDIGREES TO HIEROGLYPHS He did pick up a certain amount of German, and he did work hard at hieroglyphs ‘much helped by Steindorff ’, he says, but he was wildly keen on everything else too. It was becoming clear that he was, by nature, extraordinarily susceptible to art of all kinds, greedy for experience, in love with life.
And moreover the glaring sun streaming into the hut, the heat, the millions of flies, all combine to annoy him … Upon retiring to his hut 32 EGYPT ‘LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE’ after his ample meal of, let us say, stale peas, sardine oil, aged bread, and eleven oranges, he proceeds to remove all his garments except a coat and a pair of trousers … Next he takes two lumps of plaster of Paris and thrusts them into his ears (the lumps were made in 1894, I’m told) … Then, seizing a large green tin from off an upper shelf, he anoints his hair, beard and coat with the famous green powder.
A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs' by Julie Hankey