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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to C. M. Doughty


2 Smith Square S.W.1.

Monday Feb. 7. [1921]

Dear Mr. Doughty,

I got back from Oxford today to find your letters and parcel waiting for me: and the gift of Arabia Deserta makes me feel very embarrassed. You have written my name in it, so it is a thing finished, and there is nothing to be said but thanks:- but it's a disproportionate present (£30 worth), and I don't think that you ought to have done it. Of course I'll value it as much as it should be valued... but I feel myself too deeply in your debt for the moment. I begged so many things off you last Wednesday.

Marsh, who is Mr. Churchill's secretary, was delighted with the Ateyfa manuscript. He's a very good fellow, who has done great work in helping young poets, and the reward he likes for himself is knowing them. It is not possible for you to come to town, so the autograph was the next best thing: and you gave him a very splendid extract. I expect it comes about p. 74-75 of Mansoul: and it must make that desert section very much richer. A man at Oxford who writes, called Masefield, was speaking properly about Adam and Mansoul, to me yesterday. He's not very much of a poet, but is a popular one, and is valued as a critic, so that it is not entirely empty praise. People are talking much about Arabia just now. The reviews, and the challenge of the £9 9. 0 price, wake them up. Garvin seemed to me good in the Observer yesterday.

About the ordinary copies I bought. Two of the officers who served with me in Feisal's armies are just getting married. They are both good people, and fond of books, which are a handy present, as they can be carried about from garrison to garrison. So it was most fitting that I should give them Arabia Deserta, and especially copies with your autograph in them. At the same time the essence of wedding-presents is that they be something bought, and so it was at once necessary and pleasant to buy them. I only wish three or four more of my friends would get married before the edition is exhausted: but there is little chance of that. Please don't think of sending me anything more. I'm overpaid many times already in the pleasure of seeing A.D. in shop windows for sale. I hope you will help me never to let it out of print again. The third edition is now the thing to think about.

Will you please tell Mrs. Doughty that the drawing is being photographed in the best conditions by the South Kensington Museum people? If the results are passed by you, they will ask for permission to keep a copy for their library. I hope to hear of it tomorrow, and will write when I do.

There is another request, but not mine this time. I’m only a pillar-box. The War Office are drawing a new and very elaborate map of parts of Arabia. They include the Hejaz, Jebel Shammar, and the Kasim-Mecca routes. They have used all published maps, including yours: but the scale is I/300,000, about 5 miles to an inch, in some places, and so to supplement the published material they have used the MSS sketches in the note-books of Huber, Shakespear, Philby, myself, and others. I was looking at the sheets of this map, still of course in pencil, only drawing sheets, and mentioned to the officer in charge that your notes are full of local sketches: (particularly I remembered one of the Medowwara kella, and the hills round it, which shows more than anyone else has shown.) He asked me at once if you would lend your notes. I said I'd write and ask. He would take the greatest care of them, and return them without marking or soiling them in any way: and would be very glad if he might keep them for some weeks at least, while his compiler went along the route and added what was to add. He knows of course that you will probably not care to risk them out of your hands: but if you are willing, will you send them, registered of course, to Captain D. A. Hutchison R.E. M.I.4. War Office S.W.1. He will acknowledge receipt, and express great gratitude! This has been a very long letter: my apologies, and please give my best regards to Mrs. Doughty and your daughters.

Yours sincerely

T E Lawrence

Source: DG 326-8
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 26 January 2006


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