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T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett

[Postmarked Drigh Road]


[50 lines omitted] Robert Graves is writing something elementary and plain about me, to Doran's commission. Gawd help 'em.

I'd call Figgis better than O'Flaherty, though I've only got this one novel of his to go upon: and am judging O'F. by The Informer, and The Black Soul, neither of them the work of a man standing on his own two feet. However O'F. is alive and F. is dead, so perhaps you are right. It seemed to me that F. really got the weather and the hills and the water of the sea into his pages, dwarfing his peasants, whose puny minds faded out, in the process. Whereas O'F.'s people are bigger than his background.

Mrs. Shaw was not consulted on the Hospital Chapter. I cut it out so that there should not be an emotional climax at the end of Revolt. Revolt's top note now comes during the retreat about Deraa and Tafas: just as The Seven Pillars top note comes in the earlier chapter of our ride to the Bridges and failures after them. The Seven Pillars is altogether higher in key than Revolt, and could carry the hospital chapter without it seeming in any way conspicuous. Whereas it would have stuck out of Revolt like a raisin in a sponge cake. My sense of proportion made me sacrifice purple bit after purple bit, in selecting the pages to comprise Revolt, and I don't see why the hospital instance should seem worse to you than the rest. If you read Seven Pillars you'll see that its entirely different to Revolt. Revolt parodies S.P.

When an Arab did something individual and intelligent during the war I would call him to me, and opening a bag of sovereigns would say, 'Put in your hand', and this was thought the very height of splendour. Yet it was never more than £120: but the exercise of spreading and burying your fingers in the gold made it feel better than a cold-blooded counting out of two or three hundred pounds.

To have your mouth filled must have been beastly.



Do look, some week-end, at your fat book, and tell me if it isn't better, as a design (damn its ornaments) than it was.

Source: DG 520
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 9 February 2006

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