The desire of shortening the period of my separation from a beloved brother, was the first and strongest motive that induced me to think of accompanying him to the country in which I am now writing, and which he was preparing to visit for the third time. An eager curiosity, mainly excited by his own publications, greatly increased this desire; and little persuasion on his part was necessary to draw me to a decision; but the idea was no sooner formed than he found numerous arguments in its favour.
The opportunities I might enjoy of obtaining an insight into the mode of life of the higher classes of the ladies in this country, and of seeing many things highly interesting in themselves, and rendered more so by their being accessible only to a lady, suggested to him the idea that I might both gratify my own curiosity, and collect much information of a novel and interesting nature, which he proposed I should embody in a series of familiar letters to a friend. To encourage me to attempt this latter object, he placed at my disposal a large collection of his own unpublished notes, that I might extract from them, and insert in my letters whatever I might think fit; and in order that I might record my impressions and observations with less restraint than I should experience if always feeling that I was writing for the press, he promised me that he would select those letters which he should esteem suitable for publication, and mark them to be copied.
The present selection has been made by him; and I fear the reader may think that affection has sometimes biased his judgment; but am encouraged to hope for their favourable reception, for the sake of the more solid matter with which they are interspersed, from the notes of one to whom Egypt has become almost as familiar as England.