Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to C. M. Doughty
14 Barton Street,
Dear Mr. Doughty,
Your letter reached me after a long delay: for I got so tired of politics during my year with Winston that so soon as it ended I leaped off on a new line, which makes itself master of my time and movements: consequently I have no real address, and go nowhere now.
I'm very glad the pension has been notified to you. There were muddles in the giving of it. Normally a memorial is presented to the Prime Minister signed, by influential people, recommending the 'victim' to his attention. It seemed to me that in your case the procedure was unnecessary, since your work put you 'hors concours'. So I suggest to Ll. G. that the pension be awarded just like that:- and he agreed to it. Personally he didn't know your books: but everyone he asked said 'Of course'... and he confessed that it was obviously his duty to read Arabia at once, since everybody spoke so of it.
That was in June: and the pension might have been made public in July only that Poincaré came across two critical days before - and the new lists were consequently unsigned. It didn't make any difference to the pensions (which are paid, as Sylvester wrote you, in arrear, as from March 31 of the preceding financial year) but it meant that you were left uninformed. I was away and couldn't find out what had happened: indeed I feared that Ll. G. had let me down! However it was all well. Cockerell and Hogarth meanwhile were getting up a memorial, to supplement my apparent failure. It was decent of Ll. George to clear it up (by sending you news) as he was going out. It makes a good ending to a very momentous term of office.
I hope Mansoul is sailing through calm weather; and that you and Mrs. Doughty are feeling well. You mention that you have been in bed lately. I often wish that I was: but out of laziness, not from need: and it is only voluntary bed which is delicious.
Though I have put myself out of action so far as politics and ordinary living are concerned, yet of course I am at your disposal so far as possible for anything you need: and I can probably get leave for a night if ever you want to see me particularly, as I have not asked for any leaves for my own purposes. So if there is anything urgent please write or wire to 14 Barton Street, Westminster and it will reach me within three days.*
Philby is in London and has, I expect been to see you. I have looked at his book, but not yet read it. I'm afraid it won't be an improvement on the last book of Arabian travel: but that is much your fault for giving us later men too high a standard. It's brave of Philby to have dared to publish: I can't bring myself to the point. I wonder if Abdulla will screw himself up to the point of visiting Eastbourne. He is comfort-loving and feeble in decision, but wishes always to be agreeable.
My regards to Mrs. Doughty and the family. Please tell them I will hope to come down in six weeks' time or so, unless something unusual happens meanwhile.
T E Lawrence
*Of the present ministry, three or four are Fellows of All Souls, and most of the others friends of mine. The Duke of Devonshire, and Lord Salisbury, and Amery, and Wood and three or four others would be glad to serve you in any way you wished. Please don't delay to let me know if, or when, anything comes to your mind. You are a public character, and can make any claim you like on the public. That's one of the privileges of greatness!
|Last revised:||6 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