his officers had assembled behind him, I said ''Introduce me to your
staff, General." I wanted to know their names. I knew that two of them
belonged to families closely connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, and
I wanted to know about the others. One was from the Air Force, one
from the Artillery, and the others were from different sections of the
Army staff. None was above the rank of major. Only
one of them was rude. And even he might have been merely ignorant. It was
the Air Force officer, and he saluted me with his cane still in his right
hand. I have seen Air Force officers perform this bit of untidiness, but
I do not like it I ordered him sharply to drop his cane to the deck,
and he immediately did so. I then shook hands with them all.
of the Mahruwsah had or-tiers to sail out of sight of land
and then report to me. He did so and I went to the chart-room.
"Set a course," I said, "for Naples:" It was to Naples
that my exiled grandfather, the Khedive Isma`iyl, sailed
in about 1876 in exile; and Italy gave him La Favorite
Palace and a king's allowance.
Victor Emmanuel was exiled from Italy in 1946 he went
straight to Egypt
and was given Antoniades house * (1)
at Alexandria. Italy is today no longer
a monarchy; but in sailing to Naples I was following the route of
history, the beaten track of Egyptian and Italian kings It was not until
the Mahruwsah was well out to sea that I discovered several
dozen crates of wines, whiskies and champagnes on the deck.
I asked what they were for, and was told a very touching
story. My father's old wine steward, Ahmad `Aliy, who is
over 70 years old and is practically an heirloom, is in charge of
our family wine-cave at Cairo. I suppose one does not need to explain
to anybody but a dunderhead that a Royal Family may itself be completely
teetotal, but must have wines, etc. for state banquets and receptions at
which the royalty and diplomats of other nations are guests. The fact chat
we Egyptians drink no alcohol for religious reasons does not entitle us
to be rude to our guests.
of us at table with foreign visitors show a cluster of wine glasses at
each place where the foreigner sits, but always only a water-glass and
fruit juice glass at our own places. I will deal more dully later with
this question. But I must admit that I was surprised to find the deck piled
with these crates. "It was old, `Aliy," I was told. "He
emptied everything he could of crates of whisky and wines" from the
Alexandria wine-cave and fetched them all on board. He said he would perish
before he would lei those devils have the stuff!" These crates were the
seed around which grew the legend of the many boxes of bullion that were
carried on board the Mahruwsah and were later supposed to
have been ordered off again. Some newspapers even put it that they were
boxes of diamonds! The fact was that nothing was ordered off the
Mahruwsah. And when we reached Italy I sold the wines. For after
all they were our property. We also discovered that there was no food on
board, except bread, oil and cheese. It worked-out at one meal each per
day given fine weather and no serious delays. When shall we have it?"
I asked everyone, "for lunch or dinner?" The general vote was that
we should have our fried bread and cheese for dinner, so that we could
took forward to it all day! It was the children's idea.
had signed my abdication papers, the revolutionaries offered me a choice.
I could leave Egypt
by sea or by air. I had no hesitation in choosing
to go by sea: An airplane is too easy to shoot down or to explode in the
sky and I felt sure that our departure alive from Egypt was not
what the extremists among the revolutionaries had in mind. I knew they
already be bitter reproaching
Nagiyb for his weakness, and that
it wound not be long before something more practical was attempted. Paris-Soir
of August 3 reported from
Cairo that "they, (the Neguibists)
realized their mistake in a very short while
(at letting the Royal Family
night at sea, as the sky darkened, and I stood on the bridge of the Mahruwsah,
I was strongly tempted to order a complete black-out of the ship.
realized that I would only be deceiving myself and risking unnecessary
alarm and distress to the children. A gunboat's radar apparatus could pick
out the Mahruwsah
at a few distance and our ship's lights
could be seen. If they were sending planes they should have come
before dark. And an attack by planes; would, unless they were very lucky
give us, time to tell the world by radio what was happening to us. They
would prefer to use a torpedo if they used anything. And if they sent a
torpedo-boat after us, we could riot hide behind a black-out. Only
God might help us. (2)
instructions that no tabor doors were to be fastened, and Miss
Tabourert, the children's governess, went in quietly while they slept
and put a life-jacket ready by each pillow without disturbing them.
Then, in consultation with the ship's captain, Commander Hamdiy
Bey, I took one further precaution. We drastically a. wed route. And
afterwards I settled down to what I feared would be ad uneasy night.
Strangely, as often happens, I slept well.
we had been at sea five hours, a speedy gunboat sneaked out from Alexandria
harbor with instructions to torpedo the Mahruwsah and the
revolutionaries were all prepared with a propaganda tale that I had
gone demented on board and had blown up the ship! Even in the moment of
my assassination, it seemed that was still to be blamed. Anybody
who has wondered why we took so long in covering the short distance between
Alexandria and Naples in a fast vessel like the Mahruwsah,
now has his answer. We were not dawdling to hold orgies nor to seduce mermaids.
We spent most of that first night sailing at full speed in the wrong direction.
And whether we owed our survival, to this precaution, or as I have heard
that a loyal member of the gunboat's crew tampered with its radar
mechanism, I do not for certain know.
has always been very loyal to me. Before I left the palace (and presumably
before more extremist counsel was taken concerning our disposal), General
Nagiyb had sent for `Alluwbah Bey, chief of the Palace navy
and ADCs and had instructed him that he was to go with me on the Mahruwsah,
that he must ensure the ship turned back to Egypt immediately after
my family and I had disembarked at the first port we touched upon, and
that I was in no circumstances to be permitted to sell the ship
reasonable, of course, for the Mahruwsah never has belonged
to me. It was built in my grandfather's day and belongs to the government.
sure that `Alluwbah Bey, who was one of my most loyal men and is
now in a concentration camp, did not disobey any part of these orders,
he was also informed that until he did return with the Mahruwsah,
his wife and entire family would be held as hostages.
"Not comfortably held,
either;" he was curtly told.
else of my personal staff who went with me on the Mahruwsah
had to leave a beloved, helpless hostage until he returned, when the hostage
would, be set free and he himself take her place.
have happened to these hostages had the Mahruwsah been successfully
torpedoed, I cannot imagine. But that was undoubtedly a later conceived
plan, forced upon Nagiyb by the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood.
day was Sunday. We had survived the night and said our prayers as usual
and I stood refreshed upon the deck in the, clean morning.
"A fine day, Mr. Horan,"
I said to the chief engineer, an Irishman.
"Sure,- king's weather,
sir - God bless it'' he replied fervently, arid the memory of that
little phrase lingers with me.
a still day and placid. There was no smell of cooking for we had nothing
to cook. The sea sparkled and the sky, too, was blue.
gave us immediate welcome and shelter. They pro vided friendly kindness,
and a day-and-night guard of Italian police officers was put at my disposal.
And we 'might have begun to settle at once to the task of seeking a house
near Rome where my family and myself could learn the job of living
like ordinary people, except that 300 reporters from many arts of
the world promptly besieged us.
Customs Office had given us an immediate clearance certificate for
all our luggage. The official certificate states: Three trunks, 63 smaller
baggage. One of these pieces of baggage was little Fuw'ad
travel-cot. There were 26 members of our party, and our average
possessions were just over two bags each, plus brief-cases and hasty paper
members of our party said their farewells to friends on board the Mahruwsah
and with faces composed as best they could, climb down the gangway
on the little ferry , with the cameras whirring in the brilliant, cloudless
sunshine's, and all the reporters eagerly watching every movement.
(1) The Antoniades
house is located near the Alexandria Zoo in the al-Nuzhah area. The House
surrounding with beautiful gardens was once the property of Sir John Antoniades,
a Greek, and was turned over to the Egyptian authorities in 1918.
For a balanced report on the same events, consult Muhammad Nagiyb's
memoirs in: Egypt's Destiny, which is carried by the Egyptian Chronicles.