|A present for me from Jonathan Dawson.|
|Winchester College as illustrated in Rex Warner's English Public Schools.|
|A line drawing in the book.|
And anyway, why on earth had Jonathan Dawson sent me this book? I supposed he saw it as a curiosity because it was written by Rex Warner, a classicist who had taught in Egypt for a time, had done an introduction to Cavafy's poems, and had translated Xenophon's Persian Expedition, the version that Lawrence Durrell had drawn on when he gave Nessim Hosnani his historical dream in Justine.
He saw so clearly the shrine the infantry built to Aphrodite of
the Pigeons on that desolate alluvial coast. They were hungry. The
march had driven them all to extremities, sharpening the vision
of death which inhabits the soldier’s soul until it shone before
them with an unbearable exactness and magnificence. Baggage-
animals dying for lack of fodder and men for lack of water. They
dared not pause at the poisoned spring and wells. The wild asses,
loitering so exasperatingly just out of bowshot, maddened them
with the promise of meat they would never secure as the column
evolved across the sparse vegetation of that thorny coast. They
were supposed to be marching upon the city despite the omens.
The infantry marched in undress though they knew it to be mad-
ness. Their weapons followed them in carts which were always
lagging. The column left behind it the sour smell of unwashed
bodies — sweat and the stale of oxen: Macedonian slingers-of-the-
line farting like goats.
|Bookplate showing the the book had been given to the|
English Girls' College in Alexandria by Baron George de Menasce.
And then I noticed the bookplate stuck on the front flyleaf. 'English Girls' College, Alexandria, Library', it said. And 'Presented by'. Presented by Baron George de Menasce, February 1954. Now George de Menasce was the son of Baron Felix de Menasce; his stepmother was Baronne Rosette de Menasce; and hs niece was Rosette's granddaughter Claude Vincendon, the third wife of Lawrence Durrell.
|Baron George de Menasce.|
|The English Girls' College in Alexandria in 1939. The girls are preparing themselves for English public schoolboys.|