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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to S. F. Newcombe


15. X. 22

Dear S.F.N.,

I've behaved scummishly, I'm afraid: and in reparation had better tell you plainly that I've enlisted (under another name, of course) and so can no longer control my own times or movements. Otherwise I'd have liked very much to have come down to Devonport for a while.

It's a plan in my mind since 1919, but first my book on Arabia, and then Winston delayed me, till I was almost too old. However my health is bucking up, and I hope to come through the training period intact. The reasons why, and the purpose of it, may keep till it's all over. As you may imagine the contrast is keen enough to give me a very lively pleasure.

The world doesn't know of me now: and God forbid that the Press should. Only three people have both my old and my new name, and I don't propose to enlarge that circle. So if you need me for anything, please write as before to Barton Street, and it will reach me in a seven-day course or so - while I am in England: and I don't suppose we will be sent abroad till next trooping season.

I want Boyle's portrait very much: but now it's not possible for me to put it through. Will you ask him whether he'd sit? If in London he'd spare one sitting (of two hours) to Kennington, then the job would be over. Roberts takes time, and I don't suppose Boyle in London could manage more than a day.

I'm writing to Kennington with this, and warning him that Boyle may fix a time, and that if he possibly can, he's to be free and draw him when and where fixed. Kennington is rather run after, so it's not certain. His address is, Eric Kennington Esq.,

1 Riverside, Chiswick Mall, London.

I'd most like Boyle to write to him direct. Don't tell Boyle (or anyone) where I am (you don't know) but say that I can't arrange it, and that Kennington knows and will do his best to be satisfactory.

More apologies; and best regards to the family.

T.E.S.

Source: DG 369-70
Checked: mv/
Last revised: 18 February 2006


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