T E Lawrence Asks For A Book On Arabia
Thomas Edward Lawrence was posted to Cairo in December 1914 where he joined the Intelligence Department working on maps and intelligence reports. He quickly became the department’s expert on Syria, and was keenly interested in the prospects of an Arab revolt.
On February 20, 1915 Lawrence writes his family looking for research materials.
Military Intelligence Office
The Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia or The Moallakat: translated by Lady Anne Blunt, and put into English verse by Wilfred Scawen Blunt: published at the Chiswick Press 5/- in 1904 probably. Can you get me this book? I expect it is out of print:- but if so Blackwell would get a copy very easily, as it is a well known book. If you get it, please send it out to Intelligence Department, W.O. as above. No news this week; we sit still, and maintain an appearance of miserly inactivity. The hotel cost 10/- a day, which is not dear for Cairo… and all of us and all General Maxwell’s staff are living here so as to be available by telephone at any time: we have our private wire to the hotel. We have all to stay here and that is why they pay us £400 a year… or a little less, as it seems to work out. I heard from Will, who is consumed with a wild patriotism. I am afraid that I don’t feel strongly enough. So far as Syria is concerned it is France and not Turkey that is the enemy… but I wish I could give it to Germany in some way, for the shameless way in which she dragged Turkey into the war. I don’t think any nation has ever done in high policies anything quite so [word illegible]. I have written to Mrs. Rieder. Campbell Thompson has gone to the Persian Gulf.
It is no use my sending you news: only I don’t think things are going well: it seems to me that attention is fixed on the Belgian front that our interests in the East are being sacrificed. It will go against us very heavily some day.
Could you see if Stanford, (Long Acre) can sell you a map of North Syria, by Blankenhorn: it is about 20 years old, but very good: cost about – 10. – . If you can get a copy, please post it out to me, folded up.
Arnie did not ask me for any postcards I think… tell him to write again. I will be in Egypt some time yet.