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PICTURES FROM CAIRO, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2404, 9 March 1915
PICTURES FROM CAIRO
SCENES AND SIGHTS
LT.-GENERAL BIRDWOOD'S FIRST MESSAGE
I lie Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces are now combined under what is known as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the command of which is held by Lieut - General Sir W. R. Birdwood, K.C.S I C.8., C.1.E., D.S.O. This information is contained in a highly interesting letter written by a, Wellington non-oom-missioned officer at ' present attached to tho headquarters staff. The letter includes the first message of the Commandant ilssued after the establishment of the new Army Corps, and which reads as follows:—
"In taking over the command of the Army Corns composed of the Australian and New Zealand Contingents I wish to tell my comrades of ali ranks how proud I am at being associated with them in the great work which is before us all.
"We have been selected to fight for the honour and integrity cf the British Umpire. .Before victory is assured much hard fighting will fall to us, fighting which will call for the highest degree, not only of discipline but of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Theso are qualities in which I know I can look to. you to prove yourselves second to none. "For myself, I pray to God in &n humility that I may prove worthy cf the great trust which has been' placed in my keeping, and that I may gain the confidence of my comrades with whom I feel it an honour to be serving. If I can succeed , in this I well know you will, make victory a certainty." A Night in Cairo. "AXer finishing up to-day a friend and myself ■ wandered about the- city to see what was doing. First of all we went to a cafe and had some tea, which cost us 10 piastres each. As we walked along the filthy alleyways we noticed a crowd of English "Tommies" outside the entrance to a cheap dancing and drinking hall. With a view of ascertaining what was going forward we went inside and found the place crowded with soldiers. A sort of fantastic picture display was in progress, a show of the cheap, common, and nasty order, typical of hundreds of similar shows in Cairo and Alexandria. We left disgusted and wended our way in and' out dark miserable alleys, surfaced for the most part with a smellsome dime. The dark muffled figures of natives slunk past in the half-light as though afraid to be seen by honest folk. Their faces are hidden in folds of dark cloth. Frequently as we passed along we would come across a crouohed-up figure sitting in the doorway of a dilapidated building, mumbling away in pitiful tones of appeal for all the world as depicted in "Kismet." They change their tone when 'they see new soldiers approaching. Give us back-sheesh I" they cry with - shameless effrontery which, in plain English, is "give • us money." These beggars are numberless m Cairo. They are all shockingly diseased, and some of them are. in a really awful condition. At intervals we passed miserable-looking dens where the lowest of the low Egyptians and Arabs consort to' crink ana gamhle. These places are fruiall, danm, anil filthy. .Talk aoout the free sons of the o'< fert — they are the dizzy limit, and would bo up for having no visible means of support and no morals, if they were in Wellington. Poison! "The liquor on sale in' these places is absolute poison, and yet these people appear to be quite comfortable sipping the vile stuff .as they sit crouched on their haunches in these evil places. Often we stopped to. peer into these places, but they are all alike. Later we passed a native who had lit a fire in the middle of the footpath and was roasting chestnuts for sale. This is a common sight. Many of such vendors 'have a miniature fireplace and an oven in which to roast the chestnuts. The. smell of these back by-ways is so violently awful that one cannot stay in them long without experiencing a sensation of nausea, so at 10 p.m. we made for the better part-of the city. It is there that fashionable Cairo begins to take its evening amusement. As we were out to see things we made our way to ail elite danoe-hall, but as we wore a little early—the dancing commences at 10.30 p.m.—we sauntered along the broad, pleasant, , well-lit streets, which are ( in amazing contrast to the slums, and arrived at the "Palinarian" at about 11 p.m. As these places are not resorted to by the soldiers. except a few of the officers, the door-keeper was somewhat surprised to see us, but we pushed our way through the heavy, scented curtains and made our way to the men's lounge. We were somewhat early, and only a few officers, the dancing girls, and orchestra, were there when we entered. All round the verjj small dancing space are small tables and easy chairs, and .one may order any refreshment t"he world can furnish. There is also . a low gallery running round the -hall divided into small boxes to accommodate about four, persons. We settled down comfortably, and were soon ohatting with a Russian dancing girl, who could prattle away in no less than five languages, including English, which she spoke perfectly. She told us that her father was Russian and her mother Irish, and she had lived in Ireland, where she was born, for five years. Then she went to Russia, where she learnt dancing. She liked the work, but said it was very strenuous. On the termination of lier_ engagement she was going to Alexandria. Later on we blew into another hall called the 'Abbey des Roses,' which is similar to the 'Palmarian,' and after supper drove back to the barracks.
PICTURES FROM CAIRO, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2404, 9 March 1915
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