T. E. Lawrence to his mother
A long time since I heard from you: but every week or so the press is full of floods and rebellions in China, so that presumably there is no lack of events, even in your distant place. I wonder if you ever get our papers? The Labour Government has just had two successes in Foreign Politics - a treaty with Russia, and the passing of the Dawes agreement upon Reparations from Germany. The last means that the world lends Germany forty million pounds in gold, to repair the damage of the French entry into the Ruhr... and the French have to clear out within a year. Also our troops will probably return from Cologne. It means a return, or the beginning of a return, to peace conditions on the continent. Arnie came down and stayed a week in my cottage: not too comfortably, but he is able to look after himself. He was decent to the little soldiers who went up occasionally to see him. I like him, too. He's original, and strong-flavoured, and intelligent, with a great deal of humour and self-sufficiency. Altogether a very complete and excellent person. He's much older in feeling than I had expected. It comes rather as a shock to find him quite mature in every way. He went on from here towards Vienna, and is probably somewhere in Austria or Germany now. He would spend a second period in Rome, if it were not for fear of interference from Mrs. Strong: and may go to Greece again in the autumn, which is already upon us, to judge by the weather.
I found Scott's journals in Dorchester, and asked Smith's to post them off to you. The book shops of this district are rubbish only, and the booksellers haven't an idea of what literature is.
My own reprint makes slow progress. Some six of the coloured illustrations are in proof, and the first thirty pages of the book. That will be enough to make the rest easier. It's the beginning, the settling things, which is so difficult. Subscribers at 30 guineas were hard to find, for a while, but are rolling in merrily now, at the rate of ten or twelve a month. Before the year is out I'll have the 110 I need, and the book won't be within six months of finishing. If I had wished I could have sold 200 copies. However all I want is to meet the bills, comfortably. The sale of the original pictures will in part repay me for the expense of them. My revived bicycle seems to have taken over a new lease of life, and runs tremendously. I don't know what its maximum speed is, but it must be over 90 miles an hour. Unfortunately the wet season has cut down my riding: a solo isn't as secure on a wet road as a side-car outfit. Also I've been doing a lot of proof-reading and correction, for my book. The Hardys are driving me over to Glastonbury next Friday, to hear the performance of his last play, Iseult, with music by Rutland Boughton, a local composer, who has made a country orchestra and opera company, and performs plays there every year in a musical 'season'. It will be interesting.
No news, I think, from any part of the world lately. I haven't been to Oxford, or heard from Hogarth for a long while. I fancy Arnie went there: but he never talks about his travels or personalities.
There, it's begun to rain again.
I have your salts of lemon waiting a chance to go. The P.O. people said it would be found at once, in an envelope: and I don't want to murder a Chinese postman.
|Last revised:||12 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