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T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell


May 27th, 1927

Dear Cockerell

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.

Your ever

T.E.S.

 

Source: SCC 365-6 (also, with variant punctuation, DG 518-19)
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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