Two weeks later, I received a letter from Mr. Staub reading as follows: “Your letter was a bit of a surprise to me. I do not recall your name and my documents have no mention of any scholarship due to you. I do not have scholarships for anyone. There must be a misunderstanding. Call Mr. Stewart in Beirut. He might be able to help you out. Please accept my best regards. Staub.”
I felt great apprehension and desperation. God! What to do? I had no dirhams left in my pockets for food! What to do? Promptly, I wrote Mr. Stewart in Beirut a lengthy letter.
I did not know Mr. Stewart very well. Those who did, described him as kind-hearted, a man of good will who did not smile or talk much. His facial muscles never knew the contraction of a smile.
Our relationship had been too formal at the university. I used to drop by so he could pay me for the Arabic classes I gave to foreigners. I can’t remember us ever talking to each other. I, too, had noticed he hardly ever smiled or talked.
I penned an exhaustive letter. I told him about Mr. Dodge’s visit to Chicago, the half scholarship he offered me to go to Germany and how he said I could obtain the other half from the Board of Trustees in Ney York. I also told him about Staub’s response and how he had referred me to him. At the end I said ‘Sir, I am a poor man, estranged in a foreign land. I am penniless and have no hope of obtaining any penny from anyone in this crisis-stricken country. I kindly ask you to hasten the delivery of my scholarship, which is a moral right I claim.’ I concluded the letter and marked the envelope ‘Urgent’.
A few days later, I received a concise reply from Mr. Stewart, the gist of which said “Your letter surprised me. What do you do in Germany? My notebooks have no mention of your name or of any scholarship earmarked for you. Best regards.”