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A Lesson in Observation
A Lesson in Observation 

Western Mail, Thursday 27 July 1933, page 2

A Lesson in Observation.

(By "Emma Gee," Duranillan.)

The 3rd Light Horse Brigade was in reserve standing on the left rim of the saucer of hills which surround Damascus watching the central attack. A few yards away some Tommy subalterns, staff officers in the making, attached to the brigade for observation, were loudly discussing a. cloud of dust which was rising from the right rim of the saucer - one was quite sure that it was the 5th Mounted Yeomanry; another that it was fleeing Turks; a third was positive that it was the Sheriff of Mecca's Arabs, with whom we had been expecting to link up for some time.

"Take a look through these glasses," I said, passing over a pair of Zeiss, with which the majority of the Turkish officers were equipped. "It's Indian Cavalry and 4th Australian Light Horse."

"By Jove, Aussie, you're right! I say what a splendid pair of glasses. You - er wouldn't part with them, would you? I mean sell them to me!"

"Oh yes, we'd part company for a fiver," I replied (the officer looked rather prosperous). He opened a well filled note case and handed me over a crisp five pound Bank or England note with a "plenty more where that came from" Sir.

On my part I just as casually stuffed it down south and strolled down to the road a chain below us, where a continuous stream of prisoners was passing. In a very few minutes I was able to help myself to another pair of glasses.

"I've got a better case with this pair," I called to the; budding Allenbys as I rejoined my horse. These young officers needed observation lessons badly, I reflected. A fortnight later, I invited some friends to dinner at the Damascus Hotel Continental to spend the easy money. "We dined on the best. The bill was high, but what matter? I tossed the waiter that fiver like a Yankee millionaire, and sat back to enjoy my smoke, and finish off the after dinner wine.

Presently the waiter returned with the proprietor, a renegade Frenchman. That gentleman was gabbling like an ape and wildly waving his hands, in one of which he held my fiver.

"What iss zee meaning of ziss, Sergean? Ziss is not money?" he cried.

"Of course it is, you old ass," I replied, "it's a Bank of England note."

"Eet iss not! Eeet iss counterfeit! Eet iss not worse zee papair eet iss on. Now do I get some real money? Some Turkish Mejiddes? or do I call zat rubber nek police militaire zat iss-looking in at zee door?"

Sorrowfully I dipped down deep and reflected - young Tommy subalterns were not the only ones who needed lessons in observation.