T. E. Lawrence to Mrs Thomas Hardy
Dear Mrs Hardy
I should have answered your letter three months back: but you know how it is: especially in this place, which is just a hot-storage for me, for the years which must pass before I may return to England. Somehow letter-writing rubs in the sense of being away.
The death of Wessex is a loss to me. He was so firm and decisive a being: one who always knew his own mind, and never hesitated to change it, if he thought fit. So doing he showed a very healthy disregard of the feelings of merely temporary visitors. Few dogs appeal to me: but Wessex gained my very definite respect. And the poor old beast (after I felt so towards him) changed his tone, and became very kind. Max Gate will not seem quite right now. He must be a very great loss to you and T.H. I'm so sorry: I hope you and T.H. are otherwise well.
I'm grateful for your kindly judgement of The Seven Pillars. It is inevitable that people should call it less good than the 'Oxford' text, in which I first lent it you: but their judgement leaves me cold. Only I have read the two so closely as really to see the differences: and my taste in every case approved the changes. The Seven Pillars is 85% of the Oxford text: and the little cut out was all redundant stuff: mostly superfluous adjectives.
The giving away of your second copy will not be easy! Probably you have done it by now. By good fortune its sale-room value has risen sharply, so that I have not to be sorry for the subscribers who bought it as a speculation.
The Cape abridgement is selling like ripe apples, they tell me. I hate that little book.
My restlessness, on first seeing Karachi, has faded. I keep myself strictly to camp, and make my time pass easily enough with books, reading and re-reading the old things I have read and liked, but not treated ceremoniously enough, in my youth.
T E Shaw.
|Last revised:||9 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