Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to his family
Back in Cairo again for a few days - till the 28th to be exact. One does run about on this show! But as a matter of fact I have only come up to get some mules, and a wireless set, and a few such-like things.
Affairs are going a little slower than I had hoped, but there has been no suspicion of a set-back, and we are all well contented. I enclose a few photographs-as long as they are not published there is no harm in showing them to anyone. I have a lot more, but they have not been printed yet. They will give you an idea of the sort of country (in the oases) and the sort of people we have to do with. It is of course by far the most wonderful time I have had. I don't know what to write about! What we will do when I get back I don’t know exactly - and cannot say any how. Cairo is looking very gay, and everybody dances and goes to races as usual or more so - but after all, there is not, and never has been, war in Egypt.
The weather here is fresh - and in Wejh warmish.
Tell Arnie that I think his drawings try after ease too quickly. There is no point in making lines because other people do. The way is to look at a thing long enough, and try and make up your mind which way you have to twist your point to show up its shape in black and white. It will take a long time to do a drawing, but you do get a certain amount of thought and direction into it - not very much, I'm afraid, unless you are an artist, and born to it. After you have thought out how to do it, then you can get easy, and put polish on. Modelling is better, because there you show things as they really are, instead of recording solids in flat. I don't like relief, for that reason, unless it is half-round, and shows only half the object - otherwise it seems to me only a meretricious sketching. The greatest works I can remember are the battered heads of Skopas, the torso of Poseidon from the Parthenon, and some of the more fluid heads, like the Collignon athlete, Hypnos, etc. Above all, those two wonderful heads.
I got the headcloth safely, about a week ago, in Wejh, together with news that Bob had gone to France. As a matter of fact, you know, he will be rather glad afterwards that he has been... and as it will be easier work, and healthier than his hospital work in London. I do not think that you have much cause to regret. Many thanks for the headcloth.
I wrote to Young, and asked him to send me Will’s Pindar.
I have now been made a Captain and Staff Captain again, which is amusing. It doesn't make any difference of course really, as I am never in uniform in Arabia, and nobody cares a straw what rank I hold, except that I am of Sherif Feisul's household. Can't think of anything else to say, as have become a monomaniac about the job in hand, and have no interest or recollections except Arabian politics just now! it's amusing to think that this will suddenly come to an end one day, and I take up other work.
|Last revised:||9 January 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset