T. E. Lawrence, the illegitimate son of an Anglo-Irish Baronet has been immortalized by Hollywood as Lawrence of Arabia. But there is another, less well known, legend about his years as Assistant to H. E. Hogarth, the renowned archeologist.
They were digging at Carchemish, a remote dusty outpost of Syria. The nearest town, Jerablus, was no big shakes either. But at least it gave the young men at the site the kind of diversions that young men look for everywhere in the world. This was strictly against camp policies.Jerablus was close to the Turkish border and one important purpose of the dig was to gather intelligence on a German ally, just as hostilities that were to end in WWI were coming to a head. A British student getting caught at some brothel in Jerablus would be a diplomatic disaster.
Young Lawrence was a hard worker, not distracted by such pursuits. So remarkable was his lack of interest in `going to town’ that rumors about his sexual orientation started to circulate. But after many weeks, the dust, the heat, the loneliness-and hormones- caught up with even Lawrence. He went up to his mentor
Dr. Hogarth, I am a young man and young men have needs. As you know, I have not broken camp rules. But it is getting harder and harder to follow them.
You are right Ted. I have been working you quite hard. See my camel parked over there? You go to that camel, do what you need to do. I will just look the other way.
Just 45 minutes later, Lawrence was back.
Thank you, Sir. That was *such* a relief.
Hogarth was surprised:
What did you do? I didn’t even see you go into town on that camel? I wasn’t expecting you back till tomorrow..
I didn’t need to go to town. The camel was so nice….