Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Vyvyan Richards
End of March 
This is a reply to a postcard about a year ago. I wonder how you are getting on... I haven't much to show for myself... except that now I have a little money, thanks to about a year and a half spent in Cairo doing nothing. I hope to have about £100 in hand when the war ends, if it does! This will be enough to cut a fount in the orthodox way, if the etching has failed. You were nearly at your last experiment, when I saw you.
If you can muster up the strength please write to me (via Oxford) and tell me how things look. I think we will have to do Apuleius, which is my present stand by. Cupid and Psyche, and the wonderful end of the book, after the sheer humour of some of the beginning, are worthy of anything we can do. I'm afraid my entanglements are going to keep me in the Near East a certain part of each year: however an apprentice, or a working partner, should more than fill that part of the work. I only want a niche which will not take up too much time in getting into every visit. You know Coleridge's description of the heavenly bodies in the Mariner 'Lords that are certainly expected' etc... I don't want to be a lord or a heavenly body, but I think one end of the orbit should be in a printing shed.
Now you will write and say that it is off altogether. If so, on with it again, sooner than later.
It's a bad life this, banging about strange seas with a khaki crowd very intent on banker and parades and lunch. I am a total abstainer from each, and so a snob. The Kelmscott Coleridge however relieves me at high moments, and Apuleius ordinary times.
I insist upon Heredia as another of the great men to be worthily dressed. We won't put many copies into vellum covers. Ordinary people must take them in a green-grey native cloth (dyed with pomegranate rinds) that I have. It is good for work:... many times better than the Morris blue and grey linen.
Will you try to dye vellum in your spare moments? it wears so badly in dirty places when it is natural colour.
|Last revised:||2 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