On the 20th of August, 1844, the writer of this little book went to dine at the--Club, quite unconscious of the wonderful events which Fate had in store for him. Mr. William was there, giving a farewell dinner to his friend Mr. James (now Sir James). These two asked Mr. Titmarsh to join company with them, and the conversation naturally fell upon the tour Mr. James was about to take. The Peninsular and Oriental Company had arranged an excursion in the Mediterranean, by which, in the space of a couple of months, as many men and cities were to be seen as Ulysses surveyed and noted in ten years. Malta, Athens, Smyrna, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo were to be visited, and everybody was to be back in London by Lord Mayor's Day. The idea of beholding these famous places inflamed Mr. Titmarsh's mind; and the charms of such a journey were eloquently impressed upon him by Mr. James. Come, said that kind and hospitable gentleman, and make one of my family party; in all your life you will never probably have a chance again to see so much in so short a time. Consider--it is as easy as a journey to Paris or to Baden. Mr. Titmarsh considered all these things; but also the difficulties of the situation: he had but six-and-thirty hours to get ready for so portentous a journey--he had engagements at home-- finally, could he afford it? In spite of these objections, however, with every glass of claret the enthusiasm somehow rose, and the difficulties vanished. - Excerpted from From Cornhill to Grand Cairo
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November 03, 2006
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