Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
14, Barton St.,
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.
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.
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.
|Last revised:||8 February 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