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At that moment Ralph Stockley, ADC to the High Commissioner in Palestine, also arrived on the quay, to find he had missed the boat.
His agitation, and subsequent pursuit in a launch, relieved the tension.
Jewish refugees from Germany were leaving for Palestine.
On the one hand was a venerable wonder-rabbi, whose orthodox ringlets and round beaver hat set the fashion for his disciples down to the age of eight; on the other, a flashy group of boys and girls in beach clothes, who stifled their emotions by singing. As the boat unloosed, each one's personal concerns, the lost valise, the misappropriated corner, were forgotten.
All towns are the same at dawn; as even Oxford Street can look beautiful in its emptiness, so Venice now seemed less insatiably picturesque.
Give me Venice as Ruskin first saw it—without a railway; or give me a speed-boat and the international rich.
We motored out to tea at Malcontents, by the new road over the lagoons beside the railway.
Nine years ago Landsberg found Malcontents, though celebrated in every book on Palladio, at the point of ruin, doorless and windowless, a granary of indeterminate farm-produce. The proportions of the great hall and staterooms are a mathematical paean.
Stockley recounted an anecdote of his Chief, who was shot in the legs during the Boer War and left for thirty-six hours before help came.The wonder-rabbi and his attendant patriarchs broke into nerveless, uncontrollable waving; the boys and girls struck up a solemn hymn, in which the word Jerusalem was repeated on a note of triumph.The crowd on shore joined in, following the quay to its brink, where they stood till the ship was on the horizon.The bathing, on a calm day, must be the worst in Europe: water like hot saliva, cigar-ends floating into one's mouth, and shoals of jellyfish. There was an ominous chatter, a quickfire of greetings: the English are arriving.In the evening we went back to Harry's Bar, where our host regaled us with a drink compounded of champagne and cherry brandy.