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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family

Umm Lejj


I have not written for a fortnight, for at first I was up country hopping about on a camel, and later there was no post-boat. You see we have no mail-steamers, but depend entirely on the Navy for our communications, and they go about their business strictly. However, in any case you know that I am completely well. I have got leave to stay down here a fortnight longer, because things here are interesting, and new. Life in Yenbo was varied, because I lived always on ships, and while there was always a ship, it was sometimes one and sometimes another sort of ship. Some were luxurious, some warlike, and some very plain - but all different. This place you will not find on any map, unless you buy the northern sheets of the Red Sea Admiralty charts (I don't recommend them!): any way, it is about 100 miles North of Yenbo, and is a little group of three villages (about 40 houses in each) on a plain about a mile square under red granite hills. As it is spring just now the valleys and slopes are sprinkled with a pale green, and things are beautiful. The weather is just warm enough to be too hot at midday, but cold at night. I'm on a ship, as usual.

Sherif Feisul (3rd Son of Sherif of Mecca), to whom I am attached, is about 31, tall, slight, lively, well-educated. He is charming towards me, and we get on perfectly together. He has a tremendous reputation in the Arab world as a leader of men, and a diplomat. His strong point is handling tribes: he has the manner that gets on perfectly with tribesmen, and they all love him. At present he is governing a patch of country about as large as Wales, and doing it efficiently. I have taken some good photographs of things here (Arab forces and villages and things), and will send you copies when I can get prints made. That will not be till about the end of the month, when I go to Cairo.

My Arabic is getting quite fluent again! I nearly forgot it in Egypt, where I never spoke for fear of picking up the awful Egyptian accent and vocabulary. A few months more of this, and I'll be a qualified Arabian. I wish I had not to go back to Egypt. Any way I have had a change.


Source: HL 332-3
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 9 January 2006




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