T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell
May 27th, 1927
I'm glad you are over your influenza. It is becoming an annual and universal complaint in England. Something will really have to be done about it. Odd I've never been luck enough to get even a touch of it. When we are ill they let us rest, and the fellows who have experience of hospital here all praise it. It can't be like the service pest-houses in England, can it?
The last four sentences all end with the word it. C.M.D. would have firmly disapproved. I've always wondered what the old man did think of my stuff, which he finally read at Merriecroft, at his own request. I've always fancied that its matter shocked him as much as its manner!
Beazley is a very wonderful fellow, who has written almost the best poems that ever came out of Oxford: but his shell was always hard, and with time he seems to curl himself tighter and tighter into it. If it hadn't been for that accursed Greek art he'd have been a very fine poet.
My gold dagger is always turning up in odd places: once in The Times: then at my bank: now in All Souls and the Ashmolean. It belongs to Lionel Curtis, who paid Spink's price for it! It was made in Mecca, in the third little turning to the left off the main bazaar, by an old Nejdi goldsmith whose name I fancy was Gasein. But I begin to forget that period. There are so many better days, in Dorsetshire and at Cranwell, to dwell upon.
Your figure of 22,000 for the sale of Revolt astonishes me. At 30,000 the accumulated royalties will pay off the last of my debt to the Bank. I will then be worth just nothing! A freedom-giving state, no doubt: but one can't very well travel comfortably on it!
I shall be with you in spirit on the lawn at Max Gate in July. In a week it will be his birthday. I keep on hoping that he will be alive (and not a burden to himself) in 1931 when I'm due back. It is selfish to want old people to go on outliving their health and strength: but somehow T.H. is different. I'd like his head to exist for ever, like the head and arms of G.B.S. They are supreme works of art.
|Source:||SCC 365-6 (also, with variant punctuation, DG 518-19)|
|Last revised:||1 January 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