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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth

About June 24 [1911]

[40 lines about technique of photography omitted] The sour Zap went from us, and a horrible fool has come in his place. He is continually interfering, and malingering, with demands for brandy. We got rather tired of this, and so when he produced a preposterous fever, we promised him medicine, and invited him into the kitchen. Thompson put on a pulpit face, and recited the Hebrew alphabet and 'the House that Jack built' in a solemn voice, waving a cabalistic scroll in one hand, the other on the man's pulse: the whole village crowded round the door to see.

We had given the Zap a glass of one half a Seidlitz powder to hold in the hand, and as Thompson said Amen I poured in the other half. The Zap dropped the glass and leapt back with a yell, and in a twinkling there was not a man but ourselves in the room: some of the onlookers did not feel themselves safe till they had put the corner of the house between themselves and the devil visibly striving to void himself from the glass in white smoke. 'Am I not your friend, your raffik?' said the Zap: 'Why did you give me that from which I might have died? What have I done to you which was not good?' (Many things, but he did not know). We forced Ahmed Hassan and Dahum, the two water-boys, to drink each half a glass, under pain of beating and being laughed at. And since they have gone about delicately, feeling their limbs, and shaking themselves, lest they be 'transfigured'! 'I drank some of their sorcery', declared Dahum on the works next day, importantly, 'it is very dangerous, for by it men are changed, suddenly into the form of mares and great apes'. All the village, and above all the Maggot are rejoiced that the bully Zap is quelled. He can hardly show his face in the place: never on the mound. There are rumours of his return to Biredjik.

This is the third miracle that we have wrought, and our fame as nigromancers is gone abroad to Aintab and Membidj. The powder now foams a tall man's height from the glass with the noise of a dust-filled wind. [11 lines omitted]


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Source: DG 113-4
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 29 January 2006


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