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VERTRAY, Jean-Baptiste, & G. L. B. Killick.

The French Army in Egypt, 1798-1801.

Translated by Captain G. L. B. Killick. KILLICK, G. L. B. The English Army in Egypt, 1882.

London: Kennett & Co., [1899] Stock Code: 141561
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First and sole contemporary edition, remarkably uncommon, presented here in a handsome presentation binding. A fascinating and timely pairing of eye witness accounts of the two foreign military excursions in Egypt that framed the century: Napoleon's campaign of 1798-1801 and the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882.

As Killick notes chauvinistically in his preface, "I have only wished to draw a rough sketch of our own campaign in Egypt, in order to compare it with that of Buonaparte; and the comparison is hardly in favour of the 'Little Corporal'". It is Vertray's narrative that takes up the majority of the book and it was presumably the publication of his journal in 1883 under the title Journal d'un officier de l'armée d'Egypte (Paris: H. Galli) that acted as a spur to Killick, his brother officer Vertray serving as a captain with the 9th Regiment of the Line. Killick himself was with the King's Royal Rifles (60th) and his short but colourful account of some 40 pages, is transcribed from his own "rough journal". Of the night march before Tel-el-Kebir, with the army "steering by the stars", he writes, "it was a weird and wonderful march. All these thousands of men, marching silently in the darkness; nothing to be heard but the steady crunch, crunch, of thousands of feet on the sandy shingle, which made a dull sound like the distant roar of the surf on a beach" (pp. 186-7).

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Octavo (180 x 116 mm). Presentation binding of contemporary dark reddish-brown hard-grain morocco over bevelled boards, decorative gilt spine, sides with gilt ornamental border enclosing titling, gilt foliate turn-ins, leather inner hinges, Spanish moiré pattern marbled endpapers, gilt edges.


Neat ownership inscription to blank before title page, "A. H. S. Humphrey, Philatelic Society of Egypt" (over an earlier erased inscription), ghost of previous ownership insignia on facing page (a crowned badge). Spine sunned and with remains of an old library label in one compartment, a few light abrasions, some pale white staining to covers through an earlier misguided attempt at polishing (a well-known issue with hard-grain morocco). A very good copy.


Bruce 4660; not in Sandler.


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