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the bidders. How little the Egyptian desires to serve his country, which he considers himself competent enough to rule, I show in my chapter on the subject. (Chapter XV).
If the English could run Egypt on the same principles as the French run Tunis all would be well. Firm paternal government is what the Egyptian requires. He is not irreconcilable, he is not keen, he is not pertinacious; he is merely demonstrative; he has a passion for demonstrations, and is a born orator.
In this book I do not concern myself with him, though Egypt is on the brink of a Revolution unless the nettle is firmly grasped. I gave him a very complete diagnosis in Egypt and the English. Now I take up my pen to describe the humours of Egyptian society, Egyptian servants, and, above all, the humours and delights of travel in Upper Egypt. I give glimpses of all the everyday life of the Englishman in Egypt, from doing business (with Egyptians) to donkey-riding.
I also devote several chapters to the eccentricities of the Egyptian Court. The incidents in them were the actual experiences of a very high official and his wife, given me for publication.
Not less interesting to some people than the humours of Egyptian high-life, Egyptian patriotism and Egyptian morality will be the advice on curio-buying in Egypt when you have not much money to spend, which concludes Part I.
But the book is not entirely taken up with anecdotes and absurdities. Like Queer Things about Japan and Queer Things about Persia, it devotes half its pages to the monuments, the romance, the mystery, and the poetry of the Orient. The fascination of Egypt is extraordinary ; its monuments are matchless. My pen lingers lovingly round the glories of its scenery and art. And here I have the privilege of giving the traveller in search of fresh holiday-grounds, and
the still larger, but not less appreciative, public who can only expect to travel in the pages of a book, a bird's-eye view of the glories of Egypt, the most remarkable country in the world, as seen by one who has spent his manhood in the pursuit of sunshine and beauty. I have visited a large proportion of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world, and (not even excepting Italy and Japan-my two favourite playgrounds heretofore) never has any country so surprised and fascinated me as Egypt. It is so full of different interests. The history of Egypt covers countless centuries, the most ancient and perfect of monuments are those of Pharaonic Egypt; the most exquisite monuments of Arabian art are those in mediæval Cairo, but interesting above all are the life of the fields and the bazars, where people still live and work as they did in the days of the Bible and the Pharaohs.
I have also much to say about the exhilaration of riding and camping in the desert; the utterly strange life in the Great Oasis; the comedy of the Nile steamers which go up from Cairo to Assuan and the Sudan; the life in unbeaten tracks like the Fayum ; the life in the dead cities of the Delta, like Rosetta and Damietta ; the lotus life and the exquisite beauty of Luxor, where you are within a short walk of the finest ruins in Egypt, while you are staying in a most luxurious hotel; and the gay winter season which society spends in Assuan, “the City of the Idle Rich."
Cairo is an Arab capital, and Cairo needs a book to itself. There are thousands of natives in Cairo who have never heard of the Pharaohs and the monuments of ancient Egypt. If you want to see Egypt pure and simple, naked and unashamed, you must go down into the Delta, or up into Upper Egypt. I give a general sketch of the rural life, which you will see, in my chapters on the Egyptian State railways and the Nile as seen from Cook's steamers. But the monuments have chapters to themselves, grouped round the principal temples and tombs, and mostly in connection with Luxor.
At Luxor, if you only reside at the Karnak end of the town, away from the vulgarities and toutings of the front, you live at the Court of the great Rameses, in an atmosphere so exquisitely mild that life is a dream.
I have given many pages to describing that dream, not forgetting the humours of the donkey-boys who conduct you to the Court.