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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

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much tact or sympathy, which consists, after all, chiefly in seeing and making allowance for one's neighbour's point of view. It had not been altogether a happy idea to turn Ghezireh into a great residential quarter for British officials in close proximity to the Sporting Club, where the social life of the British community tended more and more to centre round tennis and golf and polo. There was originally no desire to exclude Egyptians from a club which they had helped to found, but most of them gradually dropped out when they found that their room was preferred to their company. The question of social relations between Englishmen and Egyptians must always be a very difficult one, as, outside the office hours, which bring them into close and often, but not always, friendly contact, they have, as a rule, few interests or pursuits in common, and Egyptian domestic institutions and the whole Egyptian outlook where women are concerned practically rule out any intimate intercourse in the home circle. Many Englishmen feel strongly that so long as they are shut out from the Egyptian home, they are entitled to discriminate very carefully in welcoming Egyptians to their own homes. Such intercourse as there is between their wives and Egyptian ladies, who can only receive them in the seclusion of the hareem, and cannot return their visits, is apt to be very formal even when the latter are highly educated and speak excellent English or French, as is now not very infrequently the case. More might doubtless be done by Englishmen and more still by Englishwomen to bridge this social gulf, and it might well be regarded as part of the duty of those who hold a position in the official world to exert themselves in that direction. Unfortunately, after Lord Cromer left there was no lady holding the recognised position of leader of Anglo-Egyptian society to set the example.
Egyptians maintain, and many Englishmen regretfully admit, that during the later years of the Occupation some British officials, even in high positions, showed not only aloofness but often actual discourtesy in socialf light railways and the introduc