Lawrence of Arabia: Mr Dryden and General Allenby

“None of my Business. Thank God I’m a soldier.”

“A man who tells lies, like me, merely is hiding the truth…. but a man who tells half lies, has forgotten where he put it.”

Mr Dryden

Mr Dryden is an amalgamation of several historical figures, mainly thought to be the British diplomatic advisor Colonel Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot.

Robert Bolt stated: The character was created – “to represent the civilian and political wing of British interests, to balance Allenby’s military objectives.

  1. We see Dryden has been reading the same newspaper as Lawrence, (in the last scene); he knows about the attack, and tries to tell General Murray who is not interested.  “Big things have small beginnings, sir.”
  2. Mr Dryden has a meeting with Lawrence in General Allenby’s office. Lawrence tells them about the taking of Aqaba. Dryden, Allenby, Lawrence and Brighton; head for the bar, it is here that they discuss the next action for Damascus. Lawrence asks for artillery. Lawrence also asks in this scene if the British have any interest in Damascus; Allenby looks to Dryden and repeats the question to him – Dryden remarks with a smirk: “It’s a difficult question.” Allenby agrees to give Lawrence all what he needs; in the next scene, General Allenby, Brighton and Mr Dryden discuss about the artillery – Dryden say: “If you give them artillery, you make them independent.”
  3.  We see Prince Faisal and General Allenby, (also Dryden), in the same room. Before the scene begins, and before Lawrence enters they must have been having a discussion about Lawrence and the matter of Arabia, etc. Prince Faisal says: I believe you General; it seems Lawrence has his reports to tell. About my people… and their weaknesses. In this scene Dryden tells Lawrence about the Sykes and Picot agreement; of the France and England’s agreement to share the Turkish Empire, including Arabia. An agreement to effect. Lawrence: “There may be tolerance among thieves; but, none upon politicians.” Dryden: “Lets have no display of indignation. You may not have known, but, you certainly had your suspicions.” – “If we told lies, you have told half lies; and a man who tells lies like me, merely hides the truth…. but, a man who has told half lies, has forgotten where he put it.” Lawrence: “The truth is, I am an ordinary man… you might have told me that, Dryden.”
  4. Next scene, we see Dryden leaving the office; we see Brighton behind him as he opens the door. (maybe Brighton was asking Dryden what happened), Dryden leaves the room without saying a word to Brighton; and is immediately bumped into Jackson Bentley. Bentley wants to know what went on in the room, Dryden will not say anything to him – Bentley: “Walk away, Dryden. Walk away. You’re always walking away, aren’t you.” Dryden: “Well, I will you, it is a little clash of temperament going on in there; inevitably, one of them’s half-male and the other – Holy Unscrupulous.”
  5. Dryden, Brighton and Allenby watch from Allenby’s office, the Arab Council as the have their meeting; Allenby wants to get involved – Dryden: “If you interfere…. you will have a full scale up-raising on you hands.”
  6. Later, we see Dryden reading a book, with Allenby reading a book about fishing and Brighton still watching the town hall. Brighton wants to do something. The Power goes off. Dryden checks the light switch – Dryden: “No, its the power.” Then, the men hear the sound of voices in the street; they look out from Allenby’s balcony and see the Arabs leaving.
  7. Dryden at the meeting of Prince Faisal and General Allenby; (the promoting of Lawrence), he stay stump through the first half of the discussion. Allenby and Faisal argue about the flag over the water works.  Allenby addresses Dryden, who says: It seems we are meant to have a British water works, with an Arab flag on it. You think it was worth it?” Prince Faisal asks Dryden what his views are on all of this – Dryden: Me your Highness? On  the whole, I wish I had stayed at Ten Bridge Ways.”

General Allenby

Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby (1861-1936) who was born in Brackenhurst on 23 April 1861, began his military career with the Inniskilling Dragoons in 1882 following an education at the Royal Military Academy (Sandhurst), serving in South Africa between 1884-88 and taking part in the Second Boer War from 1899-1901.  By the end of the war, Allenby had reached the rank of brevet colonel.

Reproduced below is General Sir Edmund Allenby’s account of events which led to the fall of Jerusalem into Allied hands on 9 December 1917.

Allenby recounts how he formally entered the historic city two days following its fall and noted that “the population received me well”.

In taking Jerusalem Allenby had exceeded British Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s instructions to ensure the city’s fall by Christmas.  The capture of Jerusalem proved a notable morale booster to the Entente Powers in rounding off what was generally regarded as a difficult year.

  1. General Allenby has travelled to to the base of the British Army. He is informed by Lawrence that he has taken over Aqaba. Allenby, is going to break through to Jerusalem.
  2. Dryden, Brighton and Allenby head off together. Allenby has given Lawrence his word that he will give him artillery. Allenby, Brighton and Dryden discuss the matter. Dryden: “If you give them artillery, you have made them independent.” Allenby: “Then I can’t give them artillery, can I.”
  3. Allenby at a meeting with Dryden and Faisal. Faisal says about the French treaty. Allenby claims that he said there was on such thing. Faisal: We have lied most bravely, but, not convincingly.” General Allenby tells Lawrence he is making his big push for Damascus and Lawrence is apart of it. Lawrence does not want to be apart of it.
  4. General Allenby watches the Arab Council at the Town Hall, from his office. Allenby is with Brighton and Dryden. They have been discussing the Arab Council. Dryden asked Allenby about Prince Faisal’s arrival. Allenby tells him, Prince Faisal arrives in two days, just like he asked him.
  5. General Allenby is reading a book about fishing. Brighton asks they must do something about the Arab Council in the Town Hall. Allenby and Dryden are both uninterested.  Allenby remarks about fishing to Dryden as an old man’s sport.
  6. General Allenby in a meeting with Prince Faisal and Dryden, (Lawrence’s promoting). Prince Faisal and Allenby argue about the water works; Prince Faisal agrees he will aid them with water supplies – Dryden: “In all fairness, you shall bring down your flag.” Prince Faisal disapproves. Prince Faisal goes on to talk about illusions, and throws a newspaper at Allenby, a picture of Lawrence on the front cover. Prince Faisal: “Ah yes, then Lawrence is a sword with two edges…. we are equally glad to be rid of him are we not?” General Allenby: “I thought I was a hard man, sir.” Prince Faisal: “You are merely a General…. I must be a king.”



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