So you can read my books

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
 - Robert Louis Stevenson

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
- Henry Miller

 Egypt {1895) on the train to Amarna:

 Wheels tall as grown men rumbled soothingly beneath us.  The swaying of the train relaxed my tense body.

           Winston Churchill burst into our train compartment, his eyes literally sparkling.  “Lady Meilori, vampires truly exist?”

Meilori corrected him.  “Revenants.  But yes, they exist.”

“Splendid!” he exclaimed.

 Meilori, Sammy, Oscar, and I all cocked our heads at him as if we were puppies hearing a cat bark.

Sammy scowled, “Tarnation, man, why are you so happy about it?”

Churchill frowned, “Why, who wouldn’t want the chance to fight a vampire?”

“Me,” all four of us said as one.

Churchill looked positively puzzled, “Why shouldn’t I wish the distinction of fighting a vampire?”

Meilori said simply, “You would lose.”

That put him up some.  “Really?”

I sighed, “Really, son.  Now, who told you revenants were real?”

“Lady Lovelace.  She was regaling Mr. Carter and myself with how this Empress Theodora invaded your very bedchambers.  Horrid!”

Meilori smiled wryly.  “That is one word for it, Lieutenant.”

Churchill said hesitantly, “She also told us that Lady Wentworth’s companion ….”

“Abigail Adams … the original one,” I said.  “Yes, she is a revenant, and the ruler of the American Confederacy of Revenant States.  For the duration of this expedition she is an ally.”

 {Image Courtesy of the Genius of Leonora Roy}

Meilori said sternly, “And off limits from your pursuit of glory, Lieutenant.”

Churchill pulled himself up stiffly.  “I would not harm a friend of Lucy, ah, I mean Lady Wentworth.”

Meilori shook her head.  “Despite Samuel’s naiveté, ALL revenants are not to be trusted … especially Abigail Adams.”

Churchill blustered, “But she travels with us!”

“For her own reasons,” Meilori said, her slanting eyes brooking no more questions.  

Churchill left troubled. 

Me, too, but for different reasons.  To take my mind off things I could not change, I studied our compartment.  

 Beige satin wallpaper.  Scarlet window curtains.  Two long lush leather seats, smelling of saddle soap and opulence.  A wide window looking out on the swiftly passing landscape.

 Laughing camel riders were racing our train at the moment.  Oscar Wilde studied them.  The longing in his eyes said he was envying them their freedom.

I sighed.  They were not as free as he might think.  How many people with their own dreams and limited views of life had sat in this very compartment?

What journeys had they been making?  Had they been thrust upon them, or had they willingly undertaken them? 

 Had they been glad they had made them in the end?  If they could afford the first class price, they were probably British – perhaps tourists, antiquarians, or government officials.

Had they felt isolated and lost in a strange world that they neither understood nor was understood by?  I smiled so bitter it tasted of salt.   

Little did they realize each of us was like that no matter if we were traveling or in the country of our birth.

Of what did each of them speak to the other in this compartment?  Had they been heard?  Had they listened to the other?   

Or had the passengers in this small room only been speaking monologues while the others had waited for them to take a breath so they could jump in and speak words no one else would hear?

Had they truly seen the person next to them, opposite them?  Hell, had they even a clear idea of who they themselves had been? 

 We all wore blinders of our own preconceptions, prejudices, and personalities.   

No wonder we all stumbled and fell in our journeys: we didn’t know where we were truly going … or why. 

Did anyone have a true idea of who they were, of who sat next to them?

How many hearts had been broken in this compartment?  What ambitions and plots had been cherished here?  What had been the final outcome of them all?   

The only thing that was certain was that their final landfall had been to a shore for which they had not aimed.

“All journeys have secret destinations 
of which the traveler is unaware.”
 –Martin Buber


  1. Two WEP entries? You are really showing the rest of us up.
    And, of course, I do always love your take on Egypt. Thank you.

    1. The first one is the official one. This one is just to give my regular visitors something new to read and give the WEP visitors something travel-oriented. :-)

  2. Looking forward to more WEP posts, especially if they remind us that what we see in our time is not what might have been in another time. To be aware is to better understand what has been and what might be. Very well done Roland, and I like the musing of McCord (it is McCord, isn't it?) Egypt, like Paris, fascinates me.

    1. Yes, it is McCord musing. Egypt is a fascinating locale in which to set a historical fantasy, isn't it?

      We go to Avalon tomorrow. :-)