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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family


 Beyrout

Sat. Feb. 18, 1911

Am come down to Beyrout with Miss Holmes and Mrs. Rieder: Mr. Hogarth comes on Monday. The 'Third' was in Beyrout yesterday (he is really the second) looking for a piano: so we are not going to rough it in Carchemish. The railway line is blocked between Beyrout and Aleppo; no trains for a month: snow 30 feet deep for 7 kilometres: it may be free this week: if not must go round by Haifa and Damascus: or across country from Iskanderon.

Last days in Jebail were very busy: which will explain only p.c. last week. Mrs. Reider got up a sort of amusement-book for Miss Holmes, unfortunately the day before her own birthday: and both were in the way of being festivities, and in both I had a lot to do. Besides that I worked harder than usual at Arabic (my eyes have recovered all right) and also I finished the mending of the things in the house. I am going to the Brit. P.O. now to ask for parcels: their parcel-post comes in today, and if I am going to get my films it will be this morning. Such a pity the Cristoid people have given up. The photo. of the castle with the stairs and the beehive (really the weli. of an excellent Mahommedan) is Markab: and another photo. of a castle much on the same scale (above) is the same place. My Syria films are all labelled in the lower edge (right way up in Indian Ink: with name of place and subject (i.e. in this case Markab S.W.)).

Markab is about 40 or 50 miles N. of Tripoli on the coast. The other photo. is of Carcassonne: you will find a similar view in my postcard packet. Tell Green to read the labels on the films: he has written to me. Davis is of course an extraordinary queer creature; all over crotchets, clever, but with an over-developed sense of his own superiority ridiculously over-developed. Mr. Jane cannot ask him for anything without putting his back up: Davis likes the reputation of knowing everything: and I expect he will not return the thesis until he has read up all the other books on the subject. His decision will be very interesting: though of course my rather knight-errant style of tilting against all comers in the subject will ruffle his hair. I must I suppose do without letters from you for a bit: you evidently (by your last letter) had forgotten our date for starting diggings: and you probably missed Mr. Hogarth therefore. At present Aleppo has been for days without a post (for the Haifa route is continually being washed out, and Alexandretta has no mail system) so you must not be surprised if you also do not hear from me. I will go N. with Mr. Hogarth though: so you need not fear what may happen to two such people. Miss Holmes has had influenza: and is come down here for 3 or 4 days to rest. I stayed with her just 8 weeks exactly: and she says my washing was not worth counting as an extra: that is ambiguous as a compliment, but except for collars it was as at Oxford. She always loses a little (about 2% on cheques from England: but it is perfectly simple to cash them). She has been exceedingly kind to me all through: Mrs. Rieder also.: Tell Arnie I did not get his 'wauri': perhaps at Carchemish. They only came one night at Jebail: and I missed that shot. I suppose they were frightened off. Today I am going to look up Cook's (many thanks for money, they have sent me their receipt and directions) and the Consulate (where my Iradés are): and the Post Office. Horrible weather today: more snow. It is fine enough at Aleppo, but there is a dearth of provisions and no charcoal, as the trains are held up. The Lebanon can evidently be unpleasant when it likes. If Mr. Hogarth has left no address write to Aleppo (Brit. Consulate) for the present: but I hope he will have. Leeds will want to consult him sometimes. No other news: I may pencil in the rest of this before posting it.

Tell Snow I am going N. now: he may like to hear. Also commiserate Frank on his ankle: such troubles take a long time to clear up: let him take refuge in reading.  Have bought a Shakespeare: tell Arnie there are no Russian Stamps Austrian only, and German, which enlcosed. Campbell-Thompson: the 'second' is to be married in Aleppo this spring. He wants a house and a piano for his bride. Films come next week: have arranged they to be sent to Aleppo. I go on Tues. (if D.G.H. comes) to Tripoli, drive to Homs, and go up thence to Aleppo by Rail.

L.

 

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Source: HL 133-5
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 8 April 2006

 



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