MRS' MARCO POLO REMEMBERS by Mary Parker Dunning


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The particular poignancy of these lavendar-sweet memoirs --from 1908 and the 1950's -- by the gracious Mrs. Dunning, arises perhaps from the enchantment of a backward view to a time when the secure American could choose to see fairylands in the Near and Far East. Dr. and Mrs. Dunning were married in 1908, and that year the young bride travelled with her husband through Japan, China, India, Burma, Egypt, Damascus, Singapore and Jerusalem. In the 1950's a still eager and lively couple journeyed to Africa, Angkor Wat, Bali and Nepal. In Egypt Mrs. Dunning received a scarab ring from a young, doomed Arabian -- she wore the ring over fifty years. In Damascus she visited a harem, and was strangely wooed by the ""perfumed peace and resigned happiness"": in Constantinople she witnessed the last procession of a soon-to-be-deposed Sultan. Regal riches; the delicate rituals of Eastern hospitality; the pathos of children crippled by poverty; exotic scenery -- all transport a serene, untroubled consciousness to wonder or delight. An Arabian Nights kaleidoscope from another age, a vanishing American outlook.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1968
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin