T. E. Lawrence to E. M. Forster
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).
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.
|Last revised:||11 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