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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett


12.4.23.

Good news of Shaw and Doughty. What guts the man has: to read a great part of my book, and at once to go on to Doughty: magnificent!

Yes I'm at Wool - camped not by Lulworth, but on Bovington Heath - Hardy's Egdon. We go to Lulworth for gunnery later on, after the end of drills.

I've seen Hardy twice, but have had no other adventures: barring one race up to London (2 hrs. 55 mins.) to see John's show. I got back, perforce, in 2 hrs. 45 mins. (126 miles each way), and was in place to answer my name for both noon and evening roll-calls. A good ride, or race, rather. Everyone thought it impossible for me to get up and down in the afternoon.

The Camp Authorities are very narrow towards us recruits - giving no leave till August, and few spare afternoons. Lulworth not allowed without a pass - but I risk it and run down occasionally for a smile at the sea. Too cold to bathe - except in the rain.

My number is 7875698: Name Pte. T.E. Shaw. Address is Mr. T.E. Shaw  c/o. H. Smith, (Stationer), Bovington Camp, Wool, Dorset.

I've really struck bed-rock - or base material - this time. The army is unspeakable; more solidly animal than I believed Englishmen could be. I hate them, and the life here: and am sure that it's good medicine for me.

Revise the book? Do you know, I've now reached the happy point of being really sorry that ever I wrote it! Apologies: I must be exasperating to work with: but what can I do about it? Any idea of working over it again must wait. Projects of epochal writings flit - or flash, through my head. If I can take one on the wing I'll look look at it carefully... but this atmosphere is hostile to everything.

Meanwhile pictures grow: the Spencers are drawing, and John has done me a glorious head of Hogarth - now hanging in his show. Do go and look at it.

L.

Source: DG 408-9
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 28 January 2006


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