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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family



Post out tonight, and as I did not write last week I must this week. I noticed from a recent letter that you had not heard of me for some time. I suppose a post must have dropped out in that sunk French steamer. Anyway I wrote. I enclose 9 more stamps in this. The half and quarter piastre are not yet on sale.
Have been interrupted eleven times since last sentence. A telephone is useful but a nuisance. I would like to know if my letters to you are opened? Two interruptions here. Mr. Hogarth is due here on Friday, which will be pleasant. He is so entirely unprofessional that he acts like a breath of fresh air. (Telephone). Here is a story for Arnie. Storrs, of the British Residency, went down to Jidda lately with the Holy Carpet. When there he wanted to talk to the Sherif. So he went to the telephone, and rang up No. i. Mecca, and began. In a few minutes he heard other voices on the line, so he told the Sherif that someone was trying to overhear their conversation. Sherif, very angry, rang up the Exchange, and ordered all telephones in the Hejaz to be cut off for half an hour. After which things went splendidly. The Sherif has a sense of humour, and is doing well. His weakness is in military operations. Four interruptions. We have added a new man to our bunch, one Ormsby-Gore, an M.P... seems good.... Ismailia come up soon and amalgamate with us. Then we are nearly 40 strong! There ought to be intelligence enough in the bunch to down Turkey - but unfortunately half of them are only door-posts and window frames! Things will go much more smoothly, though, when we are all in touch. (Telephone). Arnie should read Spenser as often as possible: not in large doses (4 more interruptions) but for a few minutes at a time, and frequently. More interruptions - I think I must give this up. It is too hopeless trying to write when soldiers keep on rushing into one's room and throwing fresh papers into one's baskets. I have three baskets now, and three tables, and they are all about knee deep. (Telephone). When they get too bad I go out and see somebody somewhere else in the building (this place is nearly as big as the War Office) and come back and tear things up. More interruptions. I'm off. (Telephone).


P.S. - This evening is worse than usual.


Source: HL 330-1
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 January 2006

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