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less ascribable to the temporary ascendant there of the Wahabees, at the period of Ali Bey's visit. With witnesses so unexceptionable, therefore, in its favour, we are entitled to consider the veracity of the narrative established beyond all dispute.
It was the recollection of those anecdotes which I had heard from him, coupled with the agreeable retrospect
he seems to have been upon some points, as will appear here and there in the notes.
Had Burckhardt's details respecting Mecca been published at the time when I was occupied with the fifth chapter, I should certainly have preferred his authority to Ali Bey's, both from the higher qualifications of the writer, and because there is a still closer coincidence in point of time.
of what we had seen together, that made me think such a memoir might prove interesting, and first induced me to suggest it to him, in this country. His long disuse, however, of European writing (an accomplishment in which he had, perhaps, never been a brilliant proficient) had made him very slow with his pen, and rendered it probable that he would soon abandon the attempt, if he took the whole labour upon himself, which was my motive for recommending that he should rather dictate, than endeavour to put his story to paper with his own hand, an expedient likely also to lead to a
simpler and more natural form of narration. By good fortune, he met with a person in London who seems to have been well qualified for the task, and brought the whole to me within a few weeks, contained in twelve little copy-books, of which the style in the original is easy and unaffected, and (so far as I can venture to judge in a foreign language) the Italian not inelegant.
I had never seen the work during its progress, but found so much amusement in reading it, and apparently so few errors, that I promised to undertake the translation, and to prepare it for the press.
But as the time fixed for his departure from England would not admit of the whole being completed, I applied myself, in the first instance, to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth books, (or chapters, as I have called them,) and read them over to him in English, so that those have the benefit of his corrections: for I felt that there would be much less risk of misapprehension or mistake in others, where the facts and geography are familiar to me, than in those where I was quite a stranger, and which I was yet the more anxious to render accurately in all the details of circumstance and place, from consi
dering the whole account of the war contained in them as one of the most curious portions of his history. Several of the other chapters were also nearly finished before he set out, and he had read over the whole to me in the original, that I might take down, from his mouth, such explanations as seemed necessary; necessary; and his answers to such queries as I had already noted, where the sense was obscure, or where by transposition the narrative might be improved.
These variations are incorporated into the text, and, at my recommendation also, some passages that