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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth

Military Intelligence Office
War Office, Cairo


There aren't going to be any nice schemes anytime, I believe: at least everything boils up gloriously, and one is told to be ready to start by the Thursday in next week - and then it never becomes the Thursday of this week. Finally the Med-Ex. came out, beastly ill-prepared, with no knowledge of where it was going, or what it would meet, or what it was going to do. So we took pity on it, and said that we would be its Intelligence Base, and its map base and so we'll be here till the end of it. Lloyd and Herbert went off with it, to help it, and Newcombe and I are left. Woolley is in Port Said, controlling the French Navy, and taking prize ships. It's very dull: but of course I haven't any training as a field officer, and I don't know that I want to go fighting up to Constantinople. It would be bad form, I think. The only place worth visiting is A. and they are all afraid of going there, for fear of hurting the feelings of our allies.

The Canal is still holding out, and we are forgetting all about it. Turkey, if she is wise, will raid it from time to time, and annoy the garrison there, which is huge, and lumbersome, and creaks so loudly in the joints that you hear them eight hours before they move. So it's quite easy to run down and chuck a bomb at it, and run away again without being caught.

Everything is going to sleep, and today is 90° in the room, and one feels rather limp and bored.

I bought you a seal the other day. It's probably the only one you'll get from us this year, which is almost its only virtue. One wouldn't have bought it anywhere else, but in Cairo it was refreshing.

For Leeds, I am sending a mediaeval dagger pommel - or piece of horse-trapping - bought in Jerusalem lately.

Poor old Turkey is only hanging together. People always talk of the splendid show she has made lately, but it really is too pitiful for words. Everything about her is very very sick, and almost I think it will be good to make an end of her, though it will be very inconvenient to ourselves. I only hope that Aleppo and Damascus will escape a little the fate that has come upon Cairo. Anything fouler than the town buildings, or its beastly people, can't be:- and I shouldn't have believed in them six months back. Carchemish is a village inhabited by the cleanest and most intelligent angels.

I expected to find you on the staff of the Med Ex! however they hadn't anybody particular, except one Deedes (v. good at Turkish) and Colonel Hawker, who was deservedly in the Ottoman Gendarmerie: The expedition came out with two copies of some ¼" maps of European Turkey as their sole supply. I hope you get me some of Butler's N. Syrian maps. Tell him the 1905 ones are ROTTEN.


Source: DG 196-7
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006

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