Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to his family
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.
Some stamps enclosed.
|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