In this fearful delay, Smara becomes something bitter for me. I am drying up completely, so to speak: my head is full of a single expression of will, which I feel in me, firm, irrevocable: to bring it to an end, to reach my goal; but, this thought does not bring me any pleasure. I cannot recapture that exaltation which carried me away at other times. I am shrivelled. I have no particle of good nature in me. I can no longer think of my relatives and friends, of the future or of the past. I feel myself cut off, in a solitude that is almost inhuman. One thing only forces itself on me, from which I am not allowed to depart for a moment. I have no more fears: illnesses; the swollen Dra; waterless wells; men of ill will; chicanery of the sheikhs: nothing of all that. Time no longer matters. I am a little like the gambler who loses, but continues for sheer obstinacy.
— Michel Vieuchange, Smara, the Forbidden City (E.P. Dutton, 1932)