GERMANY: Clouds

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High over the Austrian and Swiss Alps last week drifted a mountainous white cloud. Slowly it flattened out until it covered most of Bavaria and the lower Rhineland, hung motionless in the air for three days. Astronomer Director Wolf of the Königstuhl Observatory near Heidelberg squinted at the white pall through telescopes and announced that it was a mass of finely powdered lava blown high in the air from erupting Vesuvius (TIME. June 17). He warned Bavarians to expect the usual volcanic twilight phenomenon — the whole sky turning orange at sunset and staying so long after the sun has gone down.

The lava cloud could be seen from Munich but not from Berlin, which is the usual scene of up-to-the-minute German novelties. "Never mind," wrote a Berlin wag. "We have a nice big cloud of our own this week — all the way from Egypt."

This reference was to His Majesty King Ahmed Fuad I who, plump, dusky, serene and 61, arrived last week in Berlin on a visit the reason for which was vague to most Berliners. In art circles it was said that Egypt's sovereign was making strenuous efforts to have the German Government return to Cairo the famed bust of Queen Nefertete, excavated by German archeologists in 1913 and considered one of the most important of all Egyptian sculptures.

Other reasons given for Fuad's presence were that he had come to see a doctor, to bant, to escape Egypt's summer heat, to have fun.

Whatever his real reason, the suave monarch did have fun. He slept in the Prince Albrecht Palace (occupied last year by plump King Amanullah of Afghanistan). He reviewed troops with grizzled President von Hindenburg. He was publicly and elaborately dined, lunched, toasted, hocked. He gravely inspected Tempelhof airport and the once-royal Staatliche Porzellan Manufaktur. On Unter den Linden, he visited a beauty parlor and, smiling at the dimpled manicurists, said: "Aha! Here is my chance to have my fingers attended to."