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Mohammed el-Adl
(1900 - 1922) Egypt

Mohammed el-Adl

Tram conductor

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In the winter of 1916-1917, that is during World War I, E. M. Forster was in Alexandria, Egypt serving with the Red Cross. At Ramlah Station, near Alexandria, Forster met the 17 year old boy Mohammed el-Adl, a Muslim tram conductor. They fell in love and Forster enjoyed his first satisfactory sexual relationship.

Mohammed el-Ad was to become one of the principal inspirations for Foster's literary work. Forster's affair with Mohammed el-Adl was to end sadly, with Mohammed's premature death of tuberculosis in Alexandria in spring of 1922. Mohammed el-Adl died the year before "A Passage to India" was finished.

After this loss, Forster was driven to keep the memory of the youth alive, and attempted to do so in the form of a book-length letter, preserved at King's College, Cambridge. The letter begins with the quote from A.E. Housman: "Good-night, my lad, for nought's eternal; No league of ours, for sure" and concludes with an acknowledgement that the task of resurrecting their love is impossible.

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Source: http://www.emforster.info/pages/cavafy.html

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