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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves


14, Barton St.,
S.W.1

21.5.21

Dear R.G.

I'm back in the Colonial Office, and hating it: I wrote the date on this letter without having to think: i.e.: I'm a Government Official. Don't rub it in.

I promised you £200: and gave 50: meaning to send the other 50 from London. In the rush of my going I forgot it: and to be quite straightforward I'd rather not pay it till the end of this month. I spent a lot, travelling, and my pay here is not yet put through properly, so that for the moment I'm a hundred overdrawn. This is my limit, except in cases of necessity. If the extra £50 (or more) is urgently needed, write me and I'll send it: if not, please excuse me for another ten days. There must be no risk anyhow of your going bankrupt. I'm very sorry I muddled it: it was a clean forget.

1. Now to get back to news: shop - I'm very sorry. It sounds very hard luck.

2. I think it's good to be out of your cottage: Mrs. H. and Mrs. M. and the Laureate were three overpowering neighbours.

3. [omission]

4. Those articles: yes, they didn't bring much. A good reason for selling only 4 of them; I had hoped they would have been £500. The lesser sum gratifies my vanity more than the big one: but I'm very sorry for your sake. However, there it is. Writing, as you once said, is a badly paid business. If any wild American writes to Watt, and offers more for more things from me, please hand it on; because I've got a lot of muck in my cupboard; yet:

5. I'm very sorry you've got to chuck Oxford. Have you any idea what next: nothing at present, of course, but after that?

6. Shakespeare was constantly in debt: and then when older was able to lend money, which is the more blessed state. Rothenstein quoted to me once a saying of Gerhardt Hauptmann, that 'one should take as freely as one gives': a good remark, but difficult to swallow: because it's very hard to take things.

7. [omission]

8. You were quite right to carry on and risk piracy. If they pirate we'll rook them for damages: so hope to God they will.

9. Your great fit of writing sounds exciting: I'll look forward greatly to seeing it: you have improved the Unicorn: good: you've written something about General Elliot: I always wanted to know which Elliot: ? the old red thing who defended Gibraltar, or was it some Hinksey hero. I'm glad the 'Tangled in Thought' has gone forward: army captains are fruitful things (why not full colonels: still fruitier?) metaphysics, songs, dreams, sleeps, and royalties: it sounds a new volume: and all in rhyme, and all in editors' offices. I hope the said editors will do their part. Some day you should write a poem about an editor: (or rather you shouldn't, but Pope should have: it doesn't matter what Pope writes about).

I can't live at home: I don’t know why: the place makes me utterly intolerable.

Our schemes for the betterment of the Middle East race are doing nicely: thanks. I wish I hadn't gone out there: the Arabs are like a page I have turned over: and sequels are rotten things: do you want to make a happy ending to a tragedy? On paper it isn't virtuous, but in flesh and blood? I wish I knew.

Meanwhile I'm locked up here: office every day, and much of it, and another trip E. (this time to Jeddah to see the Sherif) looming: and all the time poor Kennington is sitting in Trans Jordan, drawing, and if I was there I could help him, and make things so much easier for him:- - -

Send me another dollop of news when you have patience: but don't expect wonders in return. I’m not a writer: and this life is foul.

E.L.

Source: DG 13-15
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 8 February 2006


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