EOTHEN, Alexander William Kinglake, later known as the historian of the Crimean War, made about 1835, three years after his graduation from Cambridge, a tour through Turkey, Egypt and the Holy Land. In 1844 after he had twice rewritten his manuscript he published a narrative of his Eastern experi ence under the title 'Eothen,> a Greek word signifying "from the early dawn" or afrom the East.* In an interesting preface he explains that he has deliberately avoided the virtues of the ordinary book of travel. What he has sought to impart is not statistical and geo graphical information but the tang and color and thrill of his own personal impressions amid those alien scenes and peoples which he dis covered when he slipped out at the back door of Europe. As Kinglake's impressions were extraordinarily fresh, vivid and intense, and as his style corresponded to his impressions, he added to the golden treasury of travel liter ature an enchanting little volume which takes its place with 'Child Harold's Pilgrimage,' 'The Bible in Spain,' and 'Travels with a Donkey.> In reading books of this sort one's interest passes back and forth between the traveler and the lands through which he travels. Kinglake as he presents himself is the typical, self-contained, independent, resolute young English gentleman, concealing his occasional moments of poetical rapture beneath an im perturbable exterior and smiling inwardly to perceive how his mere presence and .bearing extort from Turk and Bedouin the deference due to a natural lord of creation—a modest incarnation, in short, of that spirit which has made it impossible for the sun to set on British soil. The most amusing illustration of this English spirit is to be found in the 29th chap ter, in which Kinglake relates how he and a Russian officer forced a landing at Satalieh in defiance of the quarantine officers, marched through the streets to the residence of the Pasha, entered his audience chamber, seated themselves en the divan at his side and bullied him through an interpreter into open-armed hospitality. Another wonderful chapter,
and the Plague,* depends partly for its effect upon the stunning contrast between the wailing pestilence-stricken city and the non chalant Englishman going about his business and his pleasure undeterred by the universal terror of contagion. Superb, too, as a repre sentation of the traditional English reserve, is his account of his meeting in the desert with another solitary Englishman traveling west ward from India, whom he would have passed with a silent nod but for the friendly interposi tion of their respective camels. The passages in 'Eothen,' however, which are unforgettable and which raise the terse, brilliant, narrative almost to the level of poetry, are those com memorating the not infrequent occasions when the magic of the East broke through the trav eler's guard and laid its spell upon him in some lonely bivouac by the Dead Sea, or in the Sanctuary of Nazareth, or on a dromedary's back in some sun-smitten wilderness of sand, or in a curious throng of dark-eyed Jewish girls, or when the sharp vision of an abandoned English garden flashed into memory and ming led with the splash of fountains and the fra grance of Eastern roses in some old garden of Damascus. Consult Tuckwell, 'A. W. King lake> (1902).