Red Sea, August 3, 1919 Dear Helen, Your letter of May 20th was in Bombay when I arrived for embarkation. I am glad you believed me when I said I would not leave the East until the end of the summer. Most of my friends stopped writing six months ago. Perhaps they did not get all my letters. You did not receive the reply to yours of last August - the one you wrote that Sunday evening on the Twenty just above the Mill Bridge. I am sure I had some remarks about your poetical mood, for I did appreciate it - as a kindred spirit, listening to the balmy breezes in the palms overhead. I am writing to all my friends who used to write, before I arrive in Egypt, informing them that I am neither dead nor demobilized. Now if they read between the lines (as Jimmie used to say), they will naturally conclude that the reason I gather that they have not written, is that they think I must have died of fever, or they might think that I am demobilized and coming home, or, no longer wearing my three stars (as a civilian) do not deserve the same consideration as formerly. I hope you will be able to comprehend these ambiguous statements; I am in no mood for writing in this heat, and I just hurt my left hand on an electric fan when I was half asleep. You asked me if I played tennis or football. Yes, the latter, but I had fever when the last match was played. I never cared for tennis, but preferred riding instead in the evening. I t was far better to ride out to the gardens where the creaking windlass and cooing doves were the only things to break the peaceful desert quietude. That kept me from ever feeling very depressed, and especially the last year when I was more contented than ever, for I had learned the art of living as only the East can teach one and therefore was contented. The tennis people drank their whiskey pegs, gossipped, and in their ignorance of the existence of the beauty spots within riding distance, cursed Bandar Abbas as being uninteresting. Perhaps they could not have appreciated the gardens, had they visited them. I took week-end trips farther out which were equally as good as your outing to Jackson's Point. I am planning living all my good times in Persia over again the next two months, and then some. It is just the life for me; camel-riding is better than tennis any day. I am sure you ought to consider yourself highly honoured with your Eglinton Avenue (school) appointment. Please accept my congratulations on your having made good at your favourite work. Your family is lucky to have you to look after their health this summer. You said I had mentioned nothing about the end of the war. I knew nothing of it until November 25th, and then I had to carry out my plans for buying camels just the same, and I knew what a long time it would be before I was demobilized and foresaw my very late departure from India. I did dream about being a civilian at home again, the first night, after I had ridden out among the palms on a trip when I saw maples instead, but the hot sun next day prevented any further visions. Later on I began to wonder if I would want to come home, the wreck I was with fever. After two months in the Simla Hills I am as fit as ever, and will get boarded either for duty or demobilization, D. V. I hope to work the oracle for the latter in Egypt. It was the conditions of service which played me out in Persia rather than the climate itself, for I was well until I became completely run-down. I never imagined I could stand what I had to do last summer. I am quite in a mood for studying now - about the Orient - which interests me the more as I go deeper into my work. I do not know much about what I shall do in Egypt, but I intend to visit as many of the showplaces as possible and sail from Alexandria on one of the steamers which call at the North African ports, as a sailor friend advised me. There are two sailings a week which will just suit me. I shall go as far as Damascus and return to Egypt on the railway. Of course I am going in some of the more remote places, and shall use a riding camel for that purpose. No, Arabic is not chronic - only a habit. I have been working at it for all my worth this voyage, and it has been well worth it, for at Aden I got the pleasantest surprise of my life when I found myself able to understand and speak it with comparative ease. I have had several conversations with a Somali on board on a variety of subjects and feel confident to get along anywhere with my Arabic. I have only one more lesson to do in my Egyptian Colloquial Grammar, but tomorrow being the last day of the voyage, I must write letters instead. As my stay in Egypt will be far too short to suit me, I propose going to Morocco, most probably to Fez, for my Xmas vacation. There I can review Hebrew and Persian, and read and speak Arabic as much as I like, and live in a garden of roses fit for the gods! Yes, the East is where people really live - away from all excitement and worry - which are inseparable from an existence in the West. I would prefer to go straight back to Persia for two years to going to Oxford, but fortunately the army has left enough ambition and energy in me for me to resume my studies - and I hope and pray - with success. The Red Sea is just as calm and has the same balmy breezes as the Gulf, but its colour is the richest blue imaginable, I suppose, because of its great saltiness, in which respect it is said to exceed all other seas. Everybody sleeps on deck, and it was very comfortable last night - in the breezy spot I found for my bed. August 4th. This morning an old major asked me to teach him some Arabic - enough to use in travelling through Egypt, so I told him a few useful expressions which he is learning. In the East, one begins by learning phrases rather than grammar. I just love teaching Hebrew, Persian and Arabic, and can talk day and night on Oriental subjects in general. When I go back to Vic., I shall have a great talk in Arabic with Prof. McLaughlin. This is the last day of the voyage and lovely it is too - cool and breezy with a cloudless sky. Last night was typically Egyptian, and I had to get a thick blanket from the cabin. Yesterday we sighted the African coast - a most welcome sight, in anticipation of my finding the North as good as the South. Yours sincerely, Austin. Address, Cox & Co., Alexandria. Aftter October 1st my address will be c/o Cox & Co., 16 Charing Cross Rd., London.