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Eothen

Alexander William Kinglake

Book Overview: 

A classic of Victorian travel writing, Kinglake’s book describes his journey through the Ottoman empire to Cairo, and his residence there in time of plague.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They choose a captain, to whom they entrust just power enough to keep the vessel on her course in fine weather, but not quite enough for a gale of wind; they also elect a cook and a mate.  The cook whom we had on board was particularly careful about the ship’s reckoning, and when under the influence of the keen sea-breezes we grew fondly expectant of an instant dinner, the great author of pilafs would be standing on deck with an ancient quadrant in his hands, calmly affecting to take an observation.  But then to make up for this the captain would be exercising a controlling influence over the soup, so that all in the end went well.  Our mate was a Hydriot, a native of that island rock which grows nothing but mariners and mariners’ wives.  His character seemed to be exactly that which is generally attributed to the Hydriot race; he was fierce, and gloomy, and lonely in his ways.  One of his principal duties seemed to be that of acting. . . Read More