By Julie Hankey
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Extra resources for A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs'
1 This method, taken for granted now, was not prevalent in the nineteenth century, nor at the beginning of the twentieth, and in Egypt, with its tradition of treasure hunting, less than anywhere. The idea that the history of a site lay as much in its sherds and rubbish as in anything more glamorous was not understood. Egyptian scholarship, led by the French, had had huge successes in deciphering the language, but the science of deciphering the ground had been neglected. The ground was important only as a kind of bran tub.
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. She read me her diary … I showed her some … poems, and she said they were ‘lovely’. She said she would teach me to dance … and all one evening we waltzed up and down a secluded corner of the deck, until an angry mother sent her to bed.
16 31 A PASSION FOR EGYPT Whatever it was that had ‘crippled’ him at the time of the attempted robbery, by the middle of March he had decided that he couldn’t stand another season with Petrie, and that he must look out for another billet. ’17 Weigall was ‘Master Petrie’ no longer. The professor’s idiosyncrasies, and worse, his wife, had taken their toll. He describes Hilda in his memoirs as being simply ‘impossible’, a parody of her husband with none of his charm. A season with the two of them could reduce strong men to incoherent rage.
A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs' by Julie Hankey