T. E. Lawrence ftontispiece The bungalow at No. 2 Polstead Road, Oxford, facing page 48



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"You will see I think, that printing is not a business but a craft. We cannot sit down to it for so many hours a day any more than one could paint a picture on that system. And besides, such a scheme would be almost sure to interrupt The Seven Pillars of Wisdom or my monumental book on the Crusades." 15
Here, incidentally, we get a glimpse of Lawrence's life-long objection to steady hard work, and his belief that arts or crafts can be successfully practised without it. This Seven Pillars was not the book we have but was a book written in his youth about his experiences in seven cities of the Middle East. 16 It was no doubt fanciful at least in part, since one of the seven cities was Medina, which he could not have visited. 17
Towards the end of 1910 these months of uncertainty were changed for a definite occupation which took him back to the Middle East, and the thesis on medieval pottery if it ever was really planned, was laid aside for ever. Lawrence was elected to a Magdalen demyship worth £100 a year for four years. This was arranged for him by D. G.
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uncertain whether he should liberate the Irish or the Arabs. 12 There is a letter which shows that he had thought about the strategic part played by the castles during the crusades, though he nowhere mentions the vital fact that the castles were built in an effort to compensate for lack of man power, nor makes the inference that they must have been built by slave labour. There is other evidence of his military interests. But, although he speaks freely in these letters of his academic, sthetic, art-and-craft and literary interests, there is absolutely no mention or implication of this politico-military ambition to "liberate the Arabs." So far as the contemporary evidence goes, his interest in the Middle East came from the needs of his thesis and then from the chance given him by Hogarth to work at Carchemish. It is perhaps worth noting that as late as August, 1910, he wrote a friend asking about the price of second-hand copies of Hogarth Wandering Scholar in the Levant, and Doughty Arabia Deserta. 13 In March, 1911, he had not yet found a copy of the Doughty for he writes: "The book will be necessary, for I must know it by more than library use, if ever I am to do something of the sort." 14 From which we may surely infer that his ambitions at the time were still literary, especially since in January of that year he wrote:
"You will see I think, that printing is not a business but a craft. We cannot sit down to it for so many hours a day any more than one could paint a picture on that system. And besides, such a scheme would be almost sure to interrupt The Seven Pillars of Wisdom or my monumental book on the Crusades." 15
Here, incidentally, we get a glimpse of Lawrence's life-long objection to steady hard work, and his belief that arts or crafts can be successfully practised without it. This Seven Pillars was not the book we have but was a book written in his youth about his experiences in seven cities of the Middle East. 16 It was no doubt fanciful at least in part, since one of the seven cities was Medina, which he could not have visited. 17
Towards the end of 1910 these months of uncertainty were changed for a definite occupation which took him back to the Middle East, and the thesis on medieval pottery if it ever was really planned, was laid aside for ever. Lawrence was elected to a Magdalen demyship worth £100 a year for four years. This was arranged for him by D. G.
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to turn his attention towards the Hittites, who were a discovery if not an invention of Oxford. So far back as 1879, A. H. Sayce, the wealthy parson-don of Queen's College, and then Professor of Assyriology, had been discussing some unknown inscriptions and sculptures when he had a "sudden inspiration" and pointed out that they were "in precisely the same style of art as those of the monuments of Ivriz and Carchemish . . . which I called Hittite." 19 * Hogarth had been collecting "Hittite seals" for the museum, and had asked Lawrence to buy any he could in 1909. Hogarth's name is chiefly connected with his work as archaeologist at Ephesus and Carchemish, and as a war-time creator of the Arab Bureau.
Such was the train of events which sent Lawrence back to the Middle East for much of the period between December, 1910, and November, 1918, and such the scholar-patron to whom Lawrence said he owed every decent job he had in his life except for his time in the R.A.F. 20 It is a matter of guess-work to ask why Hogarth selected Lawrence, who, as he himself admitted, was not, like Woolley, a trained archologist 21 or, we may add, like Campbell Thompson; but he had shown much amateur interest as well as intellectual tastes and there is a strong presumption that Hogarth hoped to train him up as a successor. In addition to this, though Lawrence often offended and repelled people by his mannerisms and posing and "leg-pullings" he could when he chose turn on a personal charm which many people found irresistible. One admirer speaks gushingly of "the intoxication of his dear companionship." 22 It is obvious that it must have been so, even if every allowance is made for the adulation. lavished on him after he became a national hero. Hogarth must have known or guessed something of his secret, and felt that the young man would be happiest away from Oxford and England; and certainly Lawrence always said the Carchemish years were the happiest of his life.
For some reason Lawrence left England ahead of his colleagues, in December, 1910, on a ship which enabled him to spend a day each in Naples, Athens and Smyrna, and a week in Constantinople. Reaching the spiritual home of all good Oxonians he was considerably fluttered and found that he had walked into the Parthenon "without really remembering who or where I was. A heaviness in the air made my

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* I find that as early as 1876 Sayce read a paper on some inscription which he said were Hittite." See The Hittites by O. R. Gurney, 1952.
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eyes swim, and wrapped up my senses; I only knew that I, a stranger, was walking on the floor of the place I had most desired to see, the greatest temple of Athene, the palace of art . . ." 23 a perfectly conventional reaction. Constantinople gave him a more tempered delight, though he thought it much finer than Damascus, and was thrilled. with the mosques with their blue and gold and cream and green tiles. The yellow glazed pottery of "exactly the shapes in England in the xivth century," delighted him. 24
From this plethora of culture and astheticism he passed to the homely simplicity of the American Mission at Jebail where he intended to stay for six weeks or more to learn Arabic and Assyrian! But by the end of February he was off again, this time with Hogarth, on another culture-tour by train from Haifa to Damascus and Aleppo; and so on to Jerablus and the Carchemish mound. Although some half-hearted attempts had been made there many years before, the season of 1911 was still experimental, as Hogarth wanted to find out whether from his point of view the mound would be worth fuller exploration. Carchemish was really only a secondary site. The most important Hittite centre was Boghazkeui, but as British archaeology could not raise the £3,000 required, the Germans got it, and Winckler (who was working there in this same year of 1911) eventually discovered about 10,000 fragments of tablets inscribed in Hittite. There were jealousies between the English and German archaeologists, and between the archologists and the German engineers who were then bridging the Euphrates at Jerablus for their Berlin to Baghdad railway. If we may believe Lawrence's letter and Woolley's reminiscences the English archologists spent much energy quarrelling with and trying to bully the local Turkish authorities; the German engineers fought with their Arab employees; and the natives fought with each other. Gertrude Bell, who came to visit the Carchemish expedition in Hogarth's absence after she had been staying with the Germans at Ashur (the modern Kalaat Shirgat), gave great offence by telling Campbell Thompson that in comparison with the Germans their archological methods were "prehistoric." 25 On the other hand Sayce says that but for the accidental visit of the Englishman, Garstang, to Boghazkeui, "we should never have known even the little we do about its archaeological history." 26 So much for the courtesies and camaraderies of historical science. I can only add that such reference
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books as I have looked at say a great deal about Winckler and his discoveries and very little about Hogarth. Sayce himself, who visited Carchemish at this time, and in his reminiscences mentions innumerable celebrities, makes no reference whatever to Lawrence.
Life at Carchemish was not very strenuous, at any race in 1911, if we may rely on Lawrence's letters home. It seems to have been the half-occupied idleness which he always preferred to the exactions of real work, especially when the half-idleness was irresponsible and yet had possibilities of sudden excitements and opportunities for playing jokes on the ignorant and superstitious workmen. Nominally, Lawrence was put in charge of the pottery, but wrote that he' was "playing" with it, and, finding little to do, felt he was superfluous for most of the day while the evenings were spent in doing the odd jobs that could have been done during the day. 27 Later he told Graves photography and sculpture were also jobs in which he specialised, which must have been the case, for his letters mention both. 28 He told Liddell Hart that he knew all about the pottery and had made a complete stratification from the surface to 30 feet down. 29 But, as he also told Liddell Hart, he enjoyed doing nothing, and did not think he needed action to drown his sense of the futility of everything. 30 Woolley has recorded that he would sometimes find Lawrence and all the workmen sitting down and talking, and when he protested Lawrence "would grin and asked what anything mattered." 31 Some called it nihilism and some called it loafing, but doubtless by any name it was popular with the down-trodden wage-slaves.
Woolley, who did not take over the direction of Carchemish until the next year, says that Lawrence was very good with the Arab workmen. He invented competitions, setting one group of workmen against another, and two hundred running and screaming men would achieve half a day's output in an hour. 32 A very scientific method of excavation! It was Lawrence also who allowed them revolver cartridges to fire when a discovery was made. The handy man in Lawrence found odd jobs to occupy him from the beginning. He says he showed them how to make black and red paint, how to keep all light from a dark slide, that he made a camera obscura, re-wormed a screw without a die, refitted a plane-table, replaced the wick-turners on a lamp, set up a derrick made out of poplar poles and rope, to get on her legs a fallen Ishtar. 33 Although in September, 1912, Lawrence
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wrote: "I can't yet talk Arabic," 34 Woolley referring to precisely the same period says Lawrence "spoke Arabic well" and was "always trying to improve his knowledge of the dialects," and could" talk freely" with the workmen. Lawrence's ability to read, write and speak Arabic has been much debated, but it is obvious that from 1911 on he must have been able to speak and understand colloquial and some dialect Arabic. Without their he could not have done many of the things he did do, e.g., he certainly could not have controlled gangs of labourers.
All this to the contrary, it would be a mistake to under-estimate either Lawrence's enthusiasm for his new post or his rapidly growing knowledge as an archologist. It is true that early in 1912, Hogarth sent him to Petrie in Egypt for what might be called an instructional course in what were then modern methods of excavating, recording and preserving fragile finds. But that was normal for a new recruit, and then perhaps Gertrude Bell had been right and Hogarth had realised that their methods were a little "prehistoric." A non-specialist can have no opinion on such points, but anyone reading Lawrence's letters from Carchemish must feel his enthusiasm and his interest in technicalities. Evidently, like successful advocates and politicians, Lawrence possessed the ability to mug up and master a subject rapidly and convincingly, only to drop it and let it fade as soon as the interest or need had gone. This may be one if not the chief reason for the conflicting evidence (including his own) about his knowledge of Arabic, i.e., he let it drop away when no longer interested.
While there were doubtless other reasons for wanting to be out of England and in Asia Minor (such as vague plans for founding a Doughty-like book on the lives of the desert hunters and tinkers, the Sleyb) 35 enthusiasm for the work might help to account for his decision to remain in the district during the summer of 1911. He had mentioned to Hogarth that he thought of staying through the winter because it would help him to acquire an Arabic dialect which would prove a useful disguise. 36 But the true reasons were more personal and intimate. In June the British Museum, disappointed with results or without funds, had decided to close down the Carchemish expedition, after sending the excavators to report on Tell Ahmar where there had been a ford from time immemorial -- as Baedeker says, "travellers will

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admire the dexterity of the boatmen." 37 Lawrence decided to make his way back to Aleppo on foot, by a circuitous route.


Before looking at Lawrence's diary of this tour, it is necessary to introduce the two friends Lawrence chose from among the Carchemish workers. By far the more important of these, and indeed probably the great love of Lawrence's life, was the donkey-boy or water-boy, Dahoum, also known as Sheik Ahmed. He was called Dahoum, the dark one, because he was very fair. His name often appears in Lawrence's pre-war letters; he and Lawrence lived and travelled together, and it is said that Dahoum, who died during the war, was the mysterious "S.A." to whose memory the dedicatory poem of Seven Pillars is addressed. David Garnett says that Dahoum was "a charming boy of remarkable and individual character who had, on his own account, taught himself to read a few words." 38 Graves briefly mentions him as "a younger man called Dahoum" and I cannot find any reference to him in Liddell Hart's book. Not one of these writers had ever met Dahoum. Woolley, who did know Dahoum, says he was a boy of about fifteen, not particularly intelligent but remarkably handsome, and with a body of perfect proportions. Lawrence's Arabic teacher at Jebail, who met Dahoum when he was about eighteen, says he was greatly attached to Lawrence whom the Arabs regarded as their friend and brother. 39 Lawrence became interested in Dahoum during this first season, for in a letter to Hogarth he describes Dahoum's terror at having to drink a Seidlitz powder which he considered "sorcery." A few days later Lawrence wrote to the American mission asking for a few simple books for a boy of fifteen -- "our donkey-boy" with whom "I have had quite a success." 40 This must be Dahoum, who is also mentioned in a letter of December 1911; as having had malaria and being about to remain at Carchemish alone with Lawrence in July 1912; and as having been with him on the Sinai expedition in early 1914. He was one of the two Arabs Lawrence brought to Oxford and lodged in his bungalow in 1913. In that year, after the season of work, Sir Leonard Woolley writes that Lawrence had Dahoum pose as model for a crouching nude figure which Lawrence carved from the local limestone. Sir Leonard comments that the mere making of an image was looked at askance, but the portrayal of a naked figure proved to the Arabs that Lawrence was a pederast, a view that was widely held by them. Sir Leonard
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Lowell Thomas

Lowell Thomas (back to camera) meets Emir Feisal (hand raised in salute). Between them stands T. E. Lawrence [Taken from a strip of film now in the possession of the War Office


Woolley hastens to add that the charge had no foundation. 41 According to his friend, Vyvyan Richards, " Lawrence showed a like affection for other youths too, both in Arabia and after his return to England." 42
The other friend was the foreman Hamoudi, "tall, gaunt, with a thin sandy beard cut short, long-armed and immensely powerful," 43 who had in his youth provoked other men to fight for the sheer pleasure of killing them. He admitted to six or seven murders, and had been an outlaw for years, "a very suitable person to initiate Lawrence into the Arab world of action." 44 This was the other Arab brought to England by Lawrence, his companion on two or three of his earlier excursions, after which Lawrence was either accompanied by Dahoum or went alone. According to Hamoudi's post-war recollections Lawrence's first trip from Jerablus was to Nisib and beyond, disguised as Hamoudi's servant, but it is difficult to fit this in chronologically and it may have been later. 45
At all events Lawrence's diary shows that he was alone when, after separating from Campbell Thompson at Tell Ahmar, he set out on foot "on a Wednesday about July 12." The diary goes up to the 13th August, but the walk lasted only until 29th July when Lawrence collapsed with dysentery (or possibly mild typhoid) at Jerablus. So long as Lawrence was living with one of the older Englishmen at the excavations his health and diet were more or less looked after for him. But as soon as he was on his own he seems to have neglected even the elementary precautions demanded of a European in such a country in summer, and to have travelled without any medical supplies. When he fell ill, as he did even in the war, from a miserable diet and selfneglect, he seems to have done nothing about himself and to have pushed on until he collapsed. This was very brave and pertinacious, but was it intelligent? A sick man is inefficient. Of course, the namby-pamby "health" fussing of British and Americans to-day is so contemptible that any sane person left is more likely to sympathise with Lawrence's neglect than with their craven molly-coddling. But the fact that he was ill nearly all the time makes this diary a depressing little document. Indeed the wonder is that he was able to keep a diary at all.
On the second day of his walking tour he was already "a little feverish" -- he doesn't say from what, but probably from the toothache which kept him awake on the night of the 15th July after a day mostly
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spent in measuring and photographing the castle at Urfa. The chief of police there insisted he should have a guard, and remonstrated with him for travelling alone. Two days later he had an abscess and swollen cheek, and when he reached Harran his tooth was worse, his face sore and swollen, and his feet very tired. By the 22nd his tooth was better but his feet were sore and festering. On the 23rd he was better and received a message from Dahoum to the effect that "the Kala'at was sad," whatever that might mean. Kala'at, the castle, had perhaps been a rendezvous. Then Lawrence had a festering hand, his once broken ankle collapsed, and on the 27th: " Left foot to-day altogether right" -- a bit ambiguous, but one sees what he means. His right foot was in a bad way; his right hand had begun to fester where it had been bitten. The only comfort was that his left hand had now healed. He reached Jerablus on the 28th where he was warmly welcomed with enquiries as to whether there would be more work and when would the railway come, and stayed with Hamoudi. On the 29th he had a sharp attack of dysentery, fainted twice, and when he got back to the village had to admit that even he could not continue to tramp. In fact he was so weak and fainted so often that he had to make great demands on Hamoudi. Lawrence's only diversion as he waited for a carriage to take him to Aleppo was the daily visit from Dahoum which he carefully recorded. On the 3rd August Lawrence realised he must return to England, but Hamoudi suddenly dropped his hospitality, refused to lend a horse, and wanted Lawrence to move to Dahoum's house. Lawrence's messenger had come back from Birejik with the cheerful news that he could not get a carriage or any help from the town-doctor or from the Turkish governor. Eventually with Dahoum's help Lawrence got away, crossed the river, and found a carriage to take him to Aleppo, which he reached on the evening of the 5th August. 46 While waiting on the Syrian bank of the Euphrates for some form of conveyance he consoled himself by reading about the Holy Grail.
In an interview, granted after Lawrence's death to one of his friends, Hamoudi gave a roseate account of these events, mixing up Lawrence's itinerary, transposing to near Jerablus in 1911 the theft of Lawrence's camera in 1909, making the thieves his own tribesmen, and casting himself for the part of Lawrence's saviour in distress, despite the dangers from the Turkish Government if a
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European died on his hands. It is strange that this warrior, whose one regret was that Lawrence had not died in battle, is nowhere recorded as playing any part in the Arab revolt; but perhaps he changed his name. 47
Thus, Lawrence's second attempt at foot travel in Syria ended even more unhappily than the first. Much drama might be evolved from being knocked on the head by a "huge, cruel" Turkman, but there is no particular romance to be extracted from a combination of dysentery with a heavy bout of malaria, which was the condition in which he reached Oxford from Beirut in late August. While protesting that he was not ill, he had to confess that he still could not walk a hundred yards, and could get upstairs only "crab-wise." He was trying to stave off the malaria by taking quinine until he could get the arsenic treatment which he felt would effect a definite cure. (Although no longer in use, arsenic at that time was sometimes prescribed in the treatment of malaria). Lawrence's one consolation was that Hogarth was hopeful of subsidies for another season, "as a result" Lawrence boasted, "of the wonderful pottery discoveries of the last two months" of which he of course had been in charge. 48
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CHAPTER SIX


THE SUCCESS of Hogarth's attempts to raise money for the continuation of the Carchemish expedition soon brought results to Lawrence. He was evidently in good spirits, and seemingly recovered from the troubles of his summer expedition, when he wrote that he was going first to the excavations, then to Egypt to work under Flinders Petrie, and later arrange for the arrival of Leonard Woolley, the new head of the expedition. 1 The expedition in fact was continued until the outbreak of war in 1914.
Lawrence's behaviour towards others was always calculated, especially on a first encounter. With those who approached him as social or intellectual inferiors he was usually affable and friendly, turning on his famous charm; deferential to the point of asking their advice, and yet unable to resist trying to dazzle them with tales of his real or supposed grandeurs. His advance seems to have been different with those who, lacking the indisputable authority of an Allenby or a Winston Churchill, for one reason or another might consider themselves his superiors. Here his method was to lurk behind his giggle and Oxford voice, and then suddenly "to provoke the instinctive response of those he encountered to a sudden challenge to some established dogma, dignity or practice." 2 The idea was to take them off guard, probe for a weak spot, and try to take advantage of any weakness.
For some reason, possibly because Petrie was unimpressed when Lawrence joined him for instruction in January, 1912, he decided the professor must be reported as ridiculous. Thus, there is what is hopefully called "a good story" to the effect that to find
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Petrie he must go where the flies were thickest. 3 Lawrence also allowed the tale to be printed that he presented himself to Petrie in football shorts and a cricket blazer, and was told with heavy irony that they did not play cricket at his camp. Liddell Hart explains that the irony was greater than was intended, as Petrie's failure to distinguish between the garbs of the winter and summer games was surpassed by Lawrence's hatred of all games. 4 Well, if boys don't play cricket in shorts, neither do they play football in blazers, nor indeed are blazers usually displayed by those who can play neither game. Besides, if he was as quick as is reported, Petrie might have guessed that this flashing of the Magdalen blazer was a hint that he was no Oxonian, but merely Professor of Egyptology in the petit bourgeois university of London.

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