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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family


Sept. 24, 1917

Writing to you isn't very hopeful, since it is clear that you never get any of my letters. However I'll go on doing it, and some day one may get through. Would you like me to have a weekly telegram sent from Cairo telling you all well? I could arrange it easily enough. It's really a little serious that you should have received no letters between my wires. I sent the second one when I got back to Egypt from a visit to the Hejaz, because I had just had a note to say you had had no letters for two months, or some odd time. By the way have any of my letters ever been opened by censor?

I'm now back in Akaba, after having had a little trip up country to the Railway, for the last fortnight. We met all sorts of difficulties, mostly political, but in the end bagged two locomotives and blew them up, after driving out the troops behind them. It was the usual Arab show, done at no cost to us, expensive for the Turks, but not decisive in any way, as it is a raid and not a sustained operation. There are few people alive who have damaged railways as much as I have at any rate. Father may add this to the qualifications that I will possess for employment after the war! However, seriously, do remember that thanks to him I'm now independent, so far as money is concerned, of any employment whatever, and therefore I'll get back on to that printing-press scheme as soon as I am free. After all, you can't say that I haven't seen something of the world by now, and I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone doing anything so useful as the man who prints good books. So don't worry about my future - and for my present don't put either Major or C.B. or any other letters (past present or future) after my name when writing to me. These sorts of things are only nuisances to a person with £250 a year, and the intention of not having more, and the less they are used the better. I'm sending back all private letters so addressed.

Do you remember a very light dusty-amber silk cloak I brought back with me once from Aleppo? If it is not in use, I would be very glad to have it sent to me. Arab clothes are hard to find, now-a-days, with manufacture and transport thrown out of gear. I got a letter from Bob the other day and news that Arnie has been excused responsions. Also it proves that the anonymous thanks for a carpet was Elsie Hutchins! I'm glad she is married. Do you know I have not written a private letter to anyone but you for over a year? It is a wonderful thing to have kept so free of everything. Here am I at thirty with no label and no profession - and perfectly quiet. I'm more grateful to Father than I can say.


Source: HL 340-41
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 9 January 2006

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