Donovan Pasha and Some People of Egypt by Gilbert Parker Page 2 of 262
Those tales of the Far South were given out with some prodigality. They did not appear in book form, however; for, at the time I was sending out these Antipodean sketches, I was also writing - far from the scenes where they were laid - a series of Canadian tales, many of which appeared in the 'Independent" of New York, in the 'National Observer", edited by Mr. Henley, and in the 'Illustrated London News".
By accident, and on the suggestion of my friend Mr. Henley, the Canadian tales 'Pierre and his People" were published first; with the result that the stories of the Southern Hemisphere were withheld from publication, though they have been privately printed and duly copyrighted. Some day I may send them forth, but meanwhile I am content to keep them in my own care.
Moved always by deep interest in the varied manifestations of life in different portions of the Empire, five or six years ago I was attracted to the Island of Jersey, in the Channel Sea, by the likeness of the origin of her people with that of the French-Canadians. I went to live at St. Heliers for a time, and there wrote a novel called 'The Battle of the Strong".
Nor would it be thought strange that, having visited another and newer sphere of England"s influence, Egypt to wit, in 1889, I should then determine that, when I could study the country at leisure, I should try to write of the life there, so full of splendour and of primitive simplicity; of mystery and guilt; of cruel indolence and beautiful industry; of tyranny and devoted slavery; of the high elements of a true democracy and the shameful practices of a false autocracy; all touched off by the majesty of an ancient charm, the nobility of the remotest history.
The years went by, and, four times visiting Egypt, at last I began to write of her. That is now five years ago. From time to time the stories which I offer to the public in this volume were given forth.
It is likely that the old Anglo-Egyptian and the historical student may find some anachronisms and other things to criticise; but the anachronisms are deliberate, and even as in writing of Canada and Australia, which I know very well, I have here, perhaps, sacrificed superficial exactness while trying to give the more intimate meaning and spirit.