February 9, 1924

There are some problems that cannot be solved by normal means like persuasion, a blank check or throwing a fit. When the director of your excavations falls seriously ill, then one must simply deal with it and look to the assistant director to carry on the work. But when the assistant director falls into a coma after tumbling from his horse, then the dig is pretty much doomed. Without the brains behind the excavation, it is bad form to continue, even if there were other minds that could fill the gap.

The inscriptions that she had just begun to study were now locked up and in storage, and the new ones that were surely buried under the sand would remain so until at least the winter, if not longer.

Irene would take the train to Luxor the following morning, but for now there was little to do. Normally she would have gone out to eat and perhaps to a social even later, but tonight she was much too tired and too frustrated to do so. Instead, she ordered a meal from the hotel and settled in behind her desk with a stack of books and writing paper. She had a few letters to write, not to mention some more studying to do. At least she always had her books. The wonderful thing about knowledge is that it could always grow; that was also the frustrating thing about it, when one was trying to learn as much as possible. If she didn’t keep herself occupied right now, then she would feel the loss of the excavation most painfully.

It was a stroke of luck that she received an urgent telegram that evening informing her that a dig in Mohenjo-Daro had lost its primary funding and was in need of a philanthropist. With nothing else to do, Irene was happy to snatch a chance to return to India and to try out her new language skills. It was an offer that she simply could not pass up.

A trip to India might be very uncomfortable for some people, but Irene could afford the best, most comfortable transportation possible and could afford to haul with her anything she wished. She was a very happy woman when she and her books left Egypt and made the journey East.