Preface IT was the intention of the publishers that this book should appear in the autumn of the year 1914, and the author completed the MS. by the very last day of July, the day that seems to us now to have been fated to mark the close of a world epoch. In the uncertainty of the upheaval a postponement of publication was agreed upon ;till the end of the war, was at that time a phrase fresh and hopeful. Three years have more than passed ;the war goes on, and after what perhaps has been a surfeit, readers are seeking for books unconnected with translations of the doctrines of Hunnish savagery and German philosophy, or even of the allied politics and the history of the war itself. Moreover, Egypt and its native people (although the exigencies of war have sealed the country to the mere tourist) have become the centre of new interest through a realisation of its vital importance to the very existence of our Empire, and by reason of the great armies which have assembled there from every part of theE mpire to assert and protect our rights. And so the publication of this study of the Coptic people of Egypt has been decided on for the early days of 1918.
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