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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Vyvyan Richards

End of March [1916]

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.



Source: DG 201-2
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 January 2006

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