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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family


14 Jan. 1911

Richards has written to me. He has made some changes in the matter of the hut: it is to be given to a contractor in part, apparently: however that he will write to you about. The pressing thing is to get the roof, and conserve it. Can you send him £30, if it is at all possible, when you can? Give him notice if it cannot be yet, saying when you will be able to pay it. He is going to learn line-process etching of a city firm, and is short of cash. Delay the remittance you proposed in your last letter to send to me, until July, if this would help you at all. Dr. Warren wrote asking whether he should pay quarterly or half-yearly, and I told him I didn't care, but that he might ask you. The chances are that you will have something coming in from Magdalen therefore before the summer. About the other matter, the suggested advance from Father for building purposes, that is entirely for his judgement: if he feels inclined to do it, of course it would make matters much easier for the press. If not we will have to wait. You know that Richards and I decided last meeting that he would continue teaching for the present, whatever the fate of the demyship: we thought it would be wiser, since my power of earning the demyship depends on my health , and my ability to spend it on the press depends on my getting a salary, digging, next year and the year after, or on my getting 'Richard'. It is a great battle of the wits, creative on his side, for he is doing the work, and utilitarian on mine, for I am to provide the materials beyond his keep. It will be a comfort when we get through into smoother water with the whole thing. Green has written to me. Apparently the thesis might be useful to him even after Jan. 17: so please send it to him if before Easter it returns from Mr. Barker or Mr. Jane.

It would be a distinct kindness if Will went down to see him (Mr. Jane) occasionally, on pretexts such as Green's request might afford, or even a letter from me. He lives so much alone, and is so short of money (not his own debts either, but other people's) that he gets very much despondent, and visitors who talk decently encourage him. And he is too interesting for it to be an ordeal. Will no doubt is busy with Mods work. I am hoping for him to wipe Mr. Powell's eye (or both eyes). If he has specialised rather on the humanist side, so much the better for himself. I recommend him The Stream's Secret by D.G.R. and possibly Sartor Resartus if he is not disgusted with it already. Tell Arnie that Abdullah has asked in the Suk for a wauri's tail, and that they hadn't one: but he offers to cure me one if I will get if for him: so I have a revolver by my bed, and the household sits up in turn to look for one that comes most nights and eats their chickens and rabbits. Tonight there was great excitement for a hyena arrived about eleven, and began to crunch bones just behind a box: then he came out, and we all had a good look at him: a handsome beast, too. They were very anxious for me to shoot him, but he wouldn't have been any earthly good to anyone. I wonder how many shots I will have before I get this tail?

For the rest Arabic, and Assyrian, and a good deal of French with Mrs. Reider: no antiquities this month: I may have more time later on. A sirocco yesterday that blew off some of the school roof, and windows, etc. Today the sea front for a hundred yards deep, is clouded with spray, all up and down the coast. The waves are rolling on the rocks like thunder.


Miss Holmes fell upon Mrs. Abbot's patterns with rapture... many thanks returned for them.


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Source: HL 126-7
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 8 April 2006


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