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268                     THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
bag and baggage with the Khedive Tewfik by Arabi "the Egyptian" in 1882—proclaimed their loyalty to the cause of the Egyptian nation, and affirmed their determination to co-operate in vindicating Egypt's right to " complete independence." Again, it would have been unthinkable in the days of any other Egyptian ruler that the princes would have thus flouted his authority. For if they only were loyal to Egypt who repudiated the British Protectorate, was it not tantamount to charging with treason to the nation's cause t&e head of their house who consented to accept and to retain the Sultanate under the Protectorate ? Again the Egyptians, who knew what would have happened in such a case under any of their former rulers, drew their own conclusions from the Sultan's failure to call his kinsmen publicly to order. Saad Pasha Zaghlul of course telegraphed -his gracious approval and congratulations both to El Azhar and to the princes.
When the Commission departed early in March, the Nationalists boasted that it had left Egypt utterly baffled, humiliated, and defeated by the resolute will of a united nation more than ever determined to achieve " complete independence." The boycott, they declared, had been maintained triumphantly all along the line, and patriotism had won a bloodless victory. But in no country are appearances less to be trusted than in Egypt, and the Commission had by no means failed. It kept its own counsel as to the conclusions it had drawn from all that it had heard and seen, but it had certainly heard and seen a great deal. The boycott itself must have helped it to draw certain conclusions with which the Party of Independence may not have reckoned. What other interpretation can it have placed upon the boycott than that the leaders themselves were afraid to face a frank discussion of their demands, or upon the systematic intimidation practised by them to enforce the boycott on all their followers than that they dared not expose their people to direct intercourse with the Commissionremely eonciluilory reply, explaining the circumstunet-H mid only drawinghad   committed   the   heinous   offencecially in o particular case which Egyptian public opinion, rightly that Egypt' wan quit** unripe for such democratic