The other morning, at the end of our motor-drive, we went along a long straight road, flanked by a double row of poplars with gigantic regular trunks, which, apparently, is the majestic avenue to the summer residence of the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir. At moments I felt I was dreaming. The last months in Florence, from October onwards, had been an intense, maddening struggle to get each task completed, to keep every promise, and to leave nothing behind me unfinished. This had been, in a way, a preparation for my departure; but it had been a preparation which, absorbing every activity and all my time, had made me almost forget that in a few months, in a few weeks, and, finally, in a few days, I was to leave on a long journey, for an undertaking perhaps by no means easy. Only about three weeks ago I was still frantically correcting proofs in Florence. Then there were hurried good-byes to a few friends, a quick journey to the port of embarkation, a speedy crossing from Italy to India: the dream began, and lasted for eleven days of blessed leisure on board ship, of complete relaxation of the nerves after so many months of intense work, in the absolute calm of the sea and the first warmth of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, which was yet mitigated by the movement of air produced by the swift motion of the ship. Then, disembarkation at Bombay, rapid completion of baggage—rapid, because of the precise orders already sent on from Italy. Finally, the journey across India already inflamed by the first heat of its long summer, and then the journey by car which took me from the sunburnt plain of the Punjab up the whole valley of the Jhelum, in behind the first spurs of the Himalaya, still snowy on all the peaks, to Srinagar, which claims to be the Venice of the Indian Orient. The dream still continued.