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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family


[Akaba]

27.8. 17

This is written in a tent full of flies at Akaba, and the boat is leaving this afternoon. There is as usual nothing to say. I got here on the 17th of August, and found all as I had left it, except that my milk-camel has run dry: a nuisance this, because it will take me time to find another. I have too much to do, little patience to do it with, and yet things are going tolerably well. It is much more facile doing daily work as a cog of a machine, than it is running a campaign by yourself. However it's the maddest campaign ever run, which is saying quite a little lot, and if it ever works out to a conclusion will be imperishable fun to look back upon. For the moment it is heavy and slow, weary work, with no peace for the unfortunate begetter of it anywhere.

Newcombe is in Egypt ill; (nerves mostly). I've lost sight of everybody else. By the way I have returned to the Egypt Expeditionary Force, and should properly have no more to do with the Arab Bureau: but so eccentric a show as ours is doesn't do anything normal. Wherefore please address me as before, and don't put any fancy letters before or after my name. These things are not done by my intention, and therefore one can hardly count them.

I'm very glad you saw Mr. Hogarth. He will have probably given you a better idea than anyone else could give you of what we are really trying at. It consists of making bricks without straw or mud:- all right when it is a hobby, as with me, but vexatious for other people asked to do it as a job. By the way isn't it odd that (bar school, which was part nightmare and part nuisance), everything I've done has been first hobby and then business. It's an odd fortune, which no one else could say, because everybody else plays games. It was a mercy that I broke my leg long ago, and settled to sit down the rest of my days. Tell Arnie never to use an adjective that does not properly express what he means: slang reduces one to a single note, which is fatal.

N.

Some stamps enclosed.

Source: HL 338-9
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 9 January 2006


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