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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family


Cairo

July 1

Here goes for a letter to you, though there is little to say. The Reuter telegram on the revolt of the Sherif of Mecca I hope interested you. It has taken a year and a half to do, but now is going very well. It is so good to have helped a bit in making a new nation - and I hate the Turks so much that to see their own people turning on them is very grateful. I hope the movement increases, as it promises to do. You will understand how impossible it is for me to tell you what the work we do really consists of, for it is all this sort of thing. This revolt, if it succeeds will be the biggest thing in the Near East since 1550.

We carry on much as usual in the office, though Clayton has gone back to England for a couple of weeks, to talk over things with the Foreign Office. Mr. Hogarth still here, and in charge of Red Sea politics.

Tell Father I received his letter of the 14th of June, and will reply to it when I have time. The last two weeks we have lived in the middle of a storm of telegrams and conferences, and excursions, and to consider one's private affairs is not possible. The money may have come very opportunely, for the army here are very savage at being left out of the Arabia business, and I may have to cut adrift of them, which would reduce my pay a good deal.

I have gone out, with Mr. Hogarth to live with an Irishman called MacDonnell, who is one of our office. He has a house on the island in the Nile, where he normally lives with his family. They have gone to Alexandria, and we have freedom of the house. It is a change from the Hotel, and quiet.

I don't really think there is anything else I can tell you. I feel written out, for now I have two newspapers (both secret!) to edit, for the information of Governors and Governments, and besides heaps of writing to do:- and it is enough.  It is a very good thing everything goes on so well. As long as the show succeeds no very great difficulties will crop up. It is curious though how the jealousies and interferences of people on your own side give you far more work and anxiety than the enemy do. I have some very pretty maps in hand, and am drawing myself one of the country East of Damascus and Aleppo. Thanks to this war I know an incredible lot about the Near East. Our office is the clearing house through which every report and item affecting the Near East has to pass... the mass of Stuff is amazing, and it all fits into itself like a most wonderful puzzle. It we had only begun in peace time there would have been almost nothing we had not known.

Tell Mrs. Rieder that Dieb her coachman has been sentenced to some years imprisonment for insulting the Ottoman Government.... I think he will be only a few weeks there.

N.

Source: HL 327-8
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 January 2006


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