Since the Fifth Part of this work was published, the hand that wrote it has become still. After thirty-four years of labour at the Lexicon, Mr. Lane died, on the tenth of August, 1876.
It was his special wish that the work which had occupied so large a part of his life should be completed by me, and that wish absolves me from the charge of presumption to which I might otherwise be exposed. To complete it as it has been begun is indeed beyond the power of any living Orientalist: but I hope that, so far as knowledge of my Uncle's methods of work and jealous love for his memory may avail, I may not prove altogether unworthy of the great trust he reposed in me.
Informed of my purpose, Her Grace the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland immediately offered to continue to the work that generous support which she had given during my Uncle's life.
A careful examination of the manuscripts and notes which my Uncle had accumulated convinced me that there was more to be done than I had at first supposed. I found articles in three different stages: some consisting only of Mr. Lane's own notes, without any reference to the original authorities; others written, but needing to be collated with one or two manuscripts acquired later; and some completely written and ready for the press. The difference is explained by the fact that Mr. Lane was of necessity obliged to write in the order of the Ṣiḥáḥ, and that as the printers gradually approached him he finished those articles which were likely to be speedily wanted: for he began to print when he had written rather more than half the work. The notes of his own were simply the results of his long experience in the language, and were to be interwoven with the translations from the original authorities when the articles came to be written.
At the time of his death my Uncle was engaged on the article قد. Up to this point every article is ready for the printers. Of the rest the majority are written, but some need collation.
In these circumstances I think it best to publish in Part VI. only to the end of the letter ف. A part of the following letter is not completed, and to fill the lacunae would delay the publication of the volume. The present Part therefore contains only غ and ف. Up to p. 2386 the proofs were corrected by Mr. Lane; after that, by myself. The next Part, which I shall bring out so soon as is compatible with sound work and careful printing, will contain ق, ك, ل, م; and the last, ن, ه, و, ى. After the publication of Part VIII., I shall begin to prepare Book II., comprising the rare words and άπαξ λεγόμενα, which Mr. Lane estimated as two Parts, or one thick Part.
The appearance of this Part has been delayed by the difficulties presented in the composition of the Memoir which is prefixed. I have had to tell the story of a I life spent, partly on account of ill health, but mainly for the sake of work, in seclusion! Few men knew Mr. Lane personally in his later years, and as time went on and the improbability of his living to finish his work became more and more apparent, his unwillingness to see anyone beyond his family circle and a few special friends became stronger than ever. Thus I have had no assistance from the recollections of friends. Nor have I derived the smallest help from letters. Mr. Lane had a deeply-rooted objection to the publication of letters meant only for private friends, and he took care to have all his own letters from Egypt destroyed; whilst after his return to England he hardly ever wrote one except on questions of scholarship which he was asked to decide.
Thus the only materials I have had for the foundation of the Memoir have been (1) the MS. of the “Description of Egypt,” which contains a certain amount of personal incident; (2) certain note-books kept by Mr. Lane during his first and second visits to Egypt; (3) his published works; (4) his sister's journal, kept during the third visit to Egypt, and certain passages in her “English-woman in Egypt.” I should add that Mrs. Lane, my Grandmother Mrs. Poole, and my Uncle Reginald Stuart Poole, have aided me greatly with their recollections. For the last ten years I can of course write from my own intimate relations with my Great-Uncle.
The diary of Mr. Lane's second visit to Egypt I have thought it well to reproduce almost in extenso. As the daily jotting-down of what he called his “idle moments” it reveals something of himself, and as the record of the changes which nearly ten years had brought about in the country it will be acceptable to students of the history of Europeanizing in Egypt.
STANLEY LANE POOLE.