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Old 03-07-2009, 06:58 AM   #1
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Hichens, Robert Smythe: The Desert Drum. V1. 7 Mar 2009

Robert Smythe Hichens (November 14, 1864 – July 20, 1950) was an English journalist and novelist.
Born in Speldhurst in Kent, he was educated at Clifton College, the Royal College of Music, and the London School of Journalism.
He wrote lyrics for music, stories, and collaborated in successful plays. He is best remembered now, perhaps, for his satire on Oscar Wilde, The Green Carnation (1894), his novels that were made into films — The Garden of Allah (pub. 1904) and The Paradine Case (pub. 1933) — and the story "How Love Came to Professor Guildea", which has been frequently anthologized. His novel "Felix" (1902) is an early fictional treatment of hypodermic morphine addiction.
Hichens' classic novel The Green Carnation has been republished as a hardcover volume in 2006.


Excerpt
I am not naturally superstitious. The Saharaman is. He has many strange beliefs. When one is at close quarters with him, sees him day by day in his home, the great desert, listens to his dramatic tales of desert lights, visions, sounds, one's common-sense is apt to be shaken on its throne. Perhaps it is the influence of the solitude and the wide spaces, of those far horizons of the Sahara where the blue deepens along the edge of the world, that turns even a European mind to an Eastern credulity. Who can tell? The truth is that in the Sahara one can believe what one cannot believe in London. And sometimes circumstances—chance if you like to call it so—steps in, and seems to say, "Your belief is well founded."
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