William Dalrymple

The Sweet Name of Parkyns

The Gentleman Savage: A Life of Mansfield Parkyns

By Duncan Cumming

Century 176pp £16.95 order from our bookshop

In the early summer of 1845 three undergraduates from Trinity College, Cambridge stood outside a gin shop in Khartoum. They had arrived after a five hundred mile journey by camel across the desert from Aswan, directed there in order to meet another Englishman. One of them described the scene: ‘We knocked and walked in. There in front of us was the most magnificent physique of a man I have ever seen, half dressed in Arnaout costume, looking quite wild. He introduced us to the greatest scoundrels that I think could be found anywhere in a room, men too rascally for the Levant or even Cairo – slave dealers, outlaws and I know not what else.’

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