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116 THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM CHAP.
But in one way he was very unlike Ismail, for he was an astute and very grasping man of business, and he ran his large estates himself and distinctly for profit. He was quick to seize any opportunity of making money. For instance, Lord Kitchener having on one occasion dropped a hint to him that he ought to visit the provinces more often, so as to show himself to his subjects, he promptly let it be known, through suitable channels, that he was about to make a progress through the country and would do the chief notables and landowners the honour of a visit to their estates if they made it worth his while. He came back to Cairo some £40,000 to the good. The malversation of funds in the Wakf Department which administered under the Khedive's sole control the very large trust funds placed under the illusory protection of Mahomedan Pious Foundations became such a crying scandal that Lord Kitchener had to insist in 1913 on a revival of a separate Ministry to take charge of that department, as had been the practice in former times. Covetous as he was, Abbas always professed to be in financial straits, and doubtless much of his wealth went to provide the sinews of the underground war he was ceaselessly waging against the British in Cairo, in Constantinople, and elsewhere. Though he was almost universally hated, for he was capable of the pettiest meanness and cruelty, he was a power in the land, for he was feared.
The first session of the new Legislative Council elected under the Organic Statute of 1913 was a great disappointment to Lord Kitchener. The elections themselves had passed off quietly and the results on the face of them had seemed to justify his expectations. A large majority consisted of respectable landowners personally known to the voters, and carpet-baggers met with scant success. With Saad Zaghlul, who had several years' experience of Ministerial responsibility, and another distinguished lawyer, Abdul Aziz Bey Fehmi, to play the part of legitimate opposition, there seemed some reason to hope which stand to Abbas's credit was the visit which heocialf light railways and the introduc