By David Footman
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The two soon found they had much in common quite apart from problems of cargo space. Courmont was a man of culture. His taste in books was much the same as AB's. Both were then keen Wagnerians. AB now had a gramophone and was building up his library of classical records. Within a few weeks the two were close friends. AB was alone at the time. Marguerite had taken the children to the Ethiopian highlands to escape the heat. ) AB was obviously delighted at finding someone to whom he could talk in the evenings on his roof in the Aidrus Road or on climbs along the crags of Shamsan; Courmont had a good head for heights and was always willing to come with him.
The old lady was seeing a good deal of Marcel, and one of AB's letters complains that a visit to her had been taken up in having to listen to Marcel's praises. Back in Aden, in May, he reported that business prospects were good and the days were passing quickly. Emile was working very hard at Hodeida and determined to make a success. But his health was feeling the strain and he might have to come home to recuperate. Emile did in fact return to France for a few months and in September AB wrote to his sisters: I am sure that little by little Emile will win you over, but he must not take my place in your hearts.
I would have liked to consent to your taking an advance, but I am living here with the strictest economy and in my present position any sum, however small, might be vital. I am therefore forced to refuse. . I feel you are full of rancour so I prefer, at the moment, not to say what I think. This crisis has enabled me to judge the real worth of my collaborators.