10 October 1916

“Here is a story for Arnie. Storrs, of the British Residency, went down to Jidda lately with the Holy Carpet. When there he wanted to talk to the Sherif. So he went to the telephone, and rang up No. i. Mecca, and began. In a few minutes he heard other voices on the line, so he told the Sherif that someone was trying to overhear their conversation. Sherif, very
angry, rang up the Exchange, and ordered all telephones in the Hejaz
to be cut off for half an hour. After which things went splendidly. The Sherif has a sense of humour, and is doing well. His weakness is in military operations.”

T. E. Lawrence to his family (The Home Letters of T. E. Lawrence and His Brothers, edited by M. R. Lawrence, published by Blackwell, 1954).

This would be Lawrence’s last letter home for a month. Within 48 hours, he would find himself leaving Cairo with Oriental Secretary Ronald Storrs on an intelligence mission to the Hejaz. If the Sherif was weak in military operations, help was about to arrive.