By Donald Maxwell
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BY THE SAME AUTHOR THE LAST CRUSADE ADVENTURES WITH A SKETCH BOOK WITH BIBLE AND BRUSH IN PALESTINE [In preparation] THE BODLEY HEAD PREFACE Few adventurous incidents in our lives seem romantic at the time of their happening, and few places we visit are invested with that glamour that haunt them in recollection or anticipation. I remember comparing the colour scheme of a barge in Baghdad with that of one in Rochester. It was a comparison most unfavourable to Baghdad—a thing the colour of ashes with a thing of red and green and gold.
The Chief showed up most of them with his torch, and so I fell about only just enough to get used to the feel of the ground as a preliminary to what was coming later. It had rained heavily two or three days before, consequently there were lake districts, slimy reaches of mixed oil and mud and dried, hard-looking islands that were in reality traps to the unwary. The top only was firm, and it had the playful property of sliding rapidly on the greasy substratum and thus sitting you down without warning when you thought you had reached dry land.
He could walk or run any length of pipe and never swerve. Much practice had made him an adept. There were places where the only alternative to walking in mud and water was this balancing feat along the pipe lines. When I had fallen several times and covered myself with a mixture that looked like grey condensed milk mixed with butter and felt like a poultice, I got my second wind. I was still recognizable as a human being. All fear of making myself in a worse mess had vanished, and thus, freed from nervousness, I began to get quite daring.