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T. E. Lawrence to Mrs Thomas Hardy


Cranwell

21.6.26

Dear Mrs. Hardy,

I'm very sorry about that MS. Always I feared that something of the sort might happen to it. Of course Mr. Hardy can't see it as outsiders will. His life matters so much to him, and he is 80: and he resents other people fussing over something of his own which he cannot himself keep. Especially as he has been reticent always. However you still have the other copies, and they are good. The early, formative, life is so beautifully done. The middle-age is not so important, for the novels cover that. I would have liked a documented, intimate study of his old age, since its reality would be worth a great deal to everyone old, or growing old. Only you could hardly detach yourself cruelly enough to write that.

There: it doesn't matter. You have done a most excellent thing.

The Greek Play will escape me. We are very busily flying just now, and I am not feeling energetic, when we do get a day off. The inclination is to lie in the grass and watch its greenness turning slowly into yellow. Lincolnshire has a severe winter, and a severe summer: a county of extremes and suddennesses.

The R.A.F. are sending me to India this autumn: in November probably. Did I tell you? I am not sorry to miss the campaign of publicity in which Cape will try to sell my abridged book next spring: but sorry to be abroad for so long. England is the only place fit to live in.

I've told the Bank to transfer the Lemperly copy to you: and despite your 'maid of all work' I've no doubt that the extra expense will not be crushing to you. For myself I haven't given any libraries any copies, though British Museum and Bodleian wanted them. Somehow they feel dehumanised, those places. Do with the extra book just what you please. I wish it was finished. The colour printer is held up for lack of power to move his presses. It may be August or September before he is finished. Everything else is printed and ready, and I'll send the copies out before I go abroad, whether all the possible pictures are finished or not.

The booksellers confirm to me that it is a good investment. They will pay £50 now for a copy, and it will rise yet further after publication. Why not sell Copy No. II and share the profit with the maid:- of whom I have the pleasantest recollection. Your house, your dog, your servants, are all of them individualities!

What a sprawling silly letter. There are engines roaring through the corrugated iron partition, and people questioning me upon flight business every moment. There goes a rocket. Rain coming, I suppose.

T E S.

Source: DG 498-9
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 27 January 2006


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