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WILLIAM BLACK wooij AND SONS
ED IN BURGH AND LONDON
MDCCCLXXXII

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My first visit to Egypt took place just forty years ago, and I have a very vivid recollection of its aspect in those days, and of the strong impression which the contrasts of oriental life, to all that I had been accustomed to, produced upon my youthful mind. During the following twenty years, I traversed it seven or eight times, sometimes hurriedly, sometimes leisurely. I have been, therefore, enabled to judge of its progress between 1861 and 1881, as compared with the previous period. The subject has, however, been so thoroughly exhausted by the various works which have been published since the days of Mehemet Ali, and the country is now so largely frequented by invalids, and so overrun by

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tourists, that I should not have ventured to contribute to the popular literature on Egypt, had not the kindness of the authorities enabled me to spend some months in the interior under conditions particularly favourable for an observation of the present state of the people, and which, moreover, tempted me, in spite of ignorance and inexperience, to venture a little upon the inexhaustible field of antiquarian research. My notes at the time I embodied in articles in ‘Blackwood's Magazine,' which I had no intention, when I wrote them, of publishing in any other form. I only do so now in the hope that they may encourage visitors to depart a little from the beaten track, as proving that, even in a country so well worn by the feet of tourists, there are other things to be done in the valley of the hill besides living in Shepheard's Hotel, and going straight up to the Second Cataract and back. Unfortunately, our winter in Egypt was a medical prescription, and both my wife and I were too great invalids to profit by our opportunities to the extent we could have wished. As

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