August 3, 1920 & August 24, 1920: Journal entries

3 August 1920

I had quite a time last night convincing the director general of the Department of Antiquities, Pierre Lacau, that I was not some rich idiot who didn’t know a real antiquity from the fakes that are peddled in the marketplace. He was perfectly friendly up until the moment he found out that I was not a socialite who had come to see the famous sites of Egypt, but rather a socialite with pretentions of joining an excavation. Understandably, he was worried. He as less so after we had a spirited debate about the relative merits of Thutmose III and Ramses II, the former of which I greatly favor. I believe that he is disappointed that I am not university educated—though he was too much of a gentleman to say so—but I expect no trouble from him in the future. It is too bad I spent the whole night wooing him, because in consequence I was not able to accomplish my actual goal, which was to find a director who was willing to take me on. That will have to wait a little longer, it seems.

Priscilla wrote back and assures me that all is well and that Father is as healthy as ever. My mind is a little more at ease, but I still feel that I left him too soon. But if I had stayed in England, I fear that I would have suffocated.
Oh, there is another bit of good news, which is that there is a house for sale in Luxor, a fairly new, large home with an extensive garden. It belonged to an Italian diplomat who was not, as he had hoped, able to settle in Egypt. I am to take a tour later this week.

24 August 1920

Mr Lacau—never will I allow anyone to say a word against him!—has unexpectedly found me a position working with Howard Carter. I am to be the photographer and researcher, as well as a helping hand in the sand, and have been promised more responsibility if I show promise. In return, I graciously funded this season’s dig and bought new supplies for the entire staff. Needless to say, they were grateful for that, and more than one of them told me that they were so relieved that I was not a stuck up snob who knew nothing about Egyptology. I suppose that means I am making a favorable impression, but I intend to do more than that.

Also, I signed the papers for the house I looked out earlier this month. It is to be redecorated and will be ready for me in three week’s time.

No comments: