Dec. 4th, good day.

December 4th, 1849, 12am

Tuscan legation. Coming back from the hotel of the Orient and looking for the crafstman who repairs Maxime’s camera tripod, I looked at the nice gate of the Toscan legation’s mansion: roman arcade with chevrons, four columns tied like ropes. In the yard two ostriches roaming freely, pecking at the lice on each other’s backs. Khankalil - bazaar of the goldsmiths, narrow, dark, noisy - bazaar of the perfume makers. Back for lunch; four letters from my mother. Mosque of …? In the central yard a tree burdened with birds. We get up the minaret; the stones are worn away, shredded. On the last steps of the staircase, remains of brids who came here to die, the highest they could, nearly in the air. From there I see Cairo below - to the right the desert with the camels sliding over it and their shadows escorting them - in front of me, beyond the meadows and the Nile, the pyramids - the Nile is speckled with white sails; the two great sails crossed like a kerchief make the boat look like a swallow flying with two huge wings. The sky is completely blue, the sparrow hawks circle around us; below, far away, the small men. They crawl noiselessly; the liquid light seems to penetrate the surface of things. Maxime haggles over a coral necklace with a woman, a necklace with a vermillion stone. She was breast feeding; she hid to remove her necklace, with modesty - but she bevertheless showed her “both breasts”, as Ruppel would say. The deal doesn’t happen. At sunset, the grey, blue, purple light penetrates the athmosphere. back into the city, pipe and coffee in a café. We begin our preparations for the pyramids expedition - good physical and moral state - good hope, good stomach. So, so, everything’s fine.

Cassie said thanks.

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Gustave Flaubert

"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." [extracts from Flaubert's travel diary written in 1849-1851]

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