2 June 1917

Arriving at an encampment of tents near Ageila, a troop of men emerged.

“They were Auda abu Tayi, safely back from Nuri Shaalan, with the one-eyed Durzi ibn Dughmi, our old guest at Wejh. His presence proved Nuri’s favour, as did their strong escort of Rualla horse; who, bareheaded and yelling, welcomed us to Nuri’s empty house with a great show of spears and wild firing of rifles and revolvers at full gallop through the dust …

“… through the afternoon we received fusillades of honour, deputations, and gifts of ostrich eggs, or Damascus dainties, or camels, or scraggy horses, while the air was loud about us with the cries of Auda’s volunteers demanding service, immediate service, against the Turks.

“Affairs looked well, and we set three men to make coffee for the visitors, who came in to Nasir one by one or group by group, swearing allegiance to Feisal and to the Arab Movement”.

Events of 2 June 1917 as recounted by T. E. Lawrence in Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926).

But the journey from Wejh had seen Lawrence gripped by a growing repulsion over his role in recruiting the Arabs using false assurances of their independence. In contrast to his account in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, in the privacy of his field notebook for this day he confided:

“All day deputations, fusillades, coffee, ostrich eggs. Dined with Auda. Lies.”

(From Lawrence’s notebook, British Library, Add MS 45915.)