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T. E. Lawrence to R. V. Buxton

Clouds Hill


Dear Robin,

There are three conveyances, each of a fresh scrap of Chingford. They shall come to you in order, as I find them. One, I fancy is here: one at Oxford. In a few days....

I have been trying to find a lawyer here to draw me a deed to cover the other, the book overdraft... and it has suddenly occurred to me that you could probably get it done more easily. Surely a bank keeps a tame solicitor?

The idea in my mind was that I could assign to the Bank, in case of my death or disappearance, the right to publish* an abridgement (as approved by D.G. Hogarth of 20 St. Giles', Oxford, acting as editor) of as much of The Seven Pillars as seemed necessary or fit: and to apply the profits of such transaction to meeting any charges they had against either of my accounts... any surplus going, of course, to my brother, who is to inherit my debts and assets, if there are any assets ever.

*? 'to conclude an agreement with any publisher to publish, on such terms as please the Bank'?

Hogarth agrees to play 'Literary executor' (a pompous term to be used by a mouse, but what else is it?) and I believe that the right to publish a version of The Seven Pillars is valuable. Hodder & Stoughton once were willing to go to £30,000 for it: and Cape jumped at the idea of it for £7000, which I asked in 1922. He (Jonathan Cape) has still got the sheets of a suggested abridgement, which Edward Garnett made.

Lord, what a job I have thrown at you. But if you have a tame lawyer it will not be difficult.

[6 lines omitted]

Is this a possible document? It won't be necessary if I go on all right... but I might go off, just as easily. A burst front tyre, or weariness, or the other fate I'm always fearing. You know, Robin, I'm hardly sane at times.

Yours ever


Source: DG 470-71
Checked: dk/
Last revised: 23 July 2008

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