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Extra info for A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs' (Tauris Parke Paperbacks)
Inwardly Weigall chafed and seethed, but he couldn’t help himself: his keenness, partly genuine enthusiasm, was also insecurity. Both Garstang and Mace were Oxford graduates. The world was sure to find a place for them, Petrie or no Petrie. Weigall had no degree, and everything depended on how he performed at that instant. Thus, in November 1901, when Weigall embarked for Egypt on the P. & O. ’ Luckily the master was to join the ship at Marseilles, so there were a few days of freedom. Grey England was behind him, golden Egypt ahead of him at last, and the sky was getting bluer by the day: One evening there was a dance … I indulged in a slight but sentimental ‘affair’ with a girl who was going out to Egypt for the winter; and I remember leaning over the rail with her in the moonlight, and talking about life in a sort of ecstasy of youth.
The same with fragments of inscriptions. 8 Petrie’s party arrived on Boxing Day 1901, and Weigall was soon writing to Newberry, at Thebes that winter, to say that he was ‘enjoying the work very much. I shall however be glad of a day or two of civilization again. Tinned peas eaten with a knife off a packing case is all very well; but …! ’9 He had been thrown in at the deep end. Petrie had completed his examination of the royal tombs themselves by 1901, but he had noticed another cemetery which proved to be of the Twelfth Dynasty (about 1991-1783 BC) about a mile to the south, and he set the new student to clear it.
As with everything in Weigall’s life, it was a headlong plunge for him. In fact feelings on both sides grew to a point so rapidly, that after a mere seven weeks, on July 4th, American Independence Day, they announced their engagement. The Schleiter women were a curious couple; they had been wandering about from Paris to Vienna, from Munich to Florence, round and round, for at least four years before Weigall met them. They were ostensibly in search of cures for various unspecific ailments – Carrie’s kidneys, Hortense’s suspected goitre, or sometimes, perhaps, her ovaries – but at the same time they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.