`WELL,' I said to the courteous official who was trying to get some business done for me in Khartum, 'I suppose, since this is Saturday night, I must let the matter stand over till Monday.' `Not at all. Come to my office to-morrow morning and I will arrange it for you.' `To-morrow! But you forget that tomorrow is Sunday. Surely you do not go to your office on that day?'
`Certainly I do. My office is open on Sunday mornings. We take our holiday on Friday. This is a Mohammedan country, you know.'
And that was another new light to me. As a rule, it may be said of the Englishman in the remote parts of the earth, cælum non animum mutat: he changes his climate, but not his habits. So to hear that he went to work on the Sabbath and rested on the Friday was as startling as if one had learnt that he was prepared to sit down to dinner without a dress coat or, at the worst, a dinner jacket.
The task of the Sudan administrators, as I have said, is that of creating, or reviving, a civilisation out of chaos. They have many difficulties, and one great advantage. The ruin wrought by the Mahdist move-