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T. E. Lawrence to E. M. Forster


Clouds Hill
Moreton

29.IX.24.

You will have wondered what I was at. So here is an explanation.

"A" Company store-books went wrong: were neglected, revived, neglected. Got into a hopeless tangle. The storeman departed.

The Company Commander went to my employer, the Quartermaster, and asked for the use of me, to make new ledgers and check all material items. He was granted the loan of me, for a month, and I was instructed to get the job straight in that time. This was very short notice, and I've been putting all my nights into it. Haven't been to Clouds Hill since I got the new job, and will not be able to go, till I finish it, in about ten days' time.

Palmer and Russell have been up, seldom and briefly, since they find the place flat for their solitary selves. So the cottage is damp and abandoned in feeling. Not really of course:- but I've taken opportunity to put paint on the stairs, and the front door, and other places, and the smells won't go off till we get the fires going again. Will you give us a fortnight from now; and thereafter, if only your programme admit it, we will rejoice in your coming.

It is miserable to put you off: but I'd not be able to rest, knowing you in an unkept house: and I couldn't get away to see you, and that would have bred jealousy of the others' luck in my mind.

Does the Passage still sell like the Daily Mail? I have all manner of problems in my proofs, and would have a field day of discussion, if you were here.

A critic told me "that E.M.F. plays exquisitely on the flute: more exquisitely than any soloist we have today... but that he longed to hear an orchestra again". It would make a good subject for a thesis. "Quote examples of an orchestral nature" etc. etc. I can't think of one. My "big" books, Leaves of Grass, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazoff, Moby Dick, Rabelais, Don Quixote, are all solo performances. Did he mean Anthony Trollope? - (whom I've never yet read, but who sounds a sort of mix-up).

T.E.S.

This is very important

Who is F.L. Lucas, by whom have been two excellent poems lately in the New Statesman: and who wrote two excellent prose sketches in the defunct Athenaeum, just before it defuncked? Really excellent, I mean: a sure, rounded, polished, fluent, fluting voice. Really, really, good.

Source: DG 466-7
Checked: mv/
Last revised: 11 February 2006


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