T. E. Lawrence to his mother
Yes, I got your letter with the pound note in it. Many thanks. I spent it, of course. I could spend anything: but actually the R.A.F. give me enough for most of the things I want. As I never leave camp and have no motor bicycle my expenses out here are extremely small. Stamps and paper and envelopes are the main items. I wish I could see some way of cutting down the number of letters I write. It is now seldom less than twenty a week, and I only answer three out of five that come to me. Perhaps if I cut down the proportion to two out of four it would ease matters. Ninety per cent, of the letters are about things, business things, of which I care nothing whatever. The other ten per cent. are either to you or Mrs. Shaw, who is very good about sending me books and things (you should meet Mrs. Shaw some day: she is oldish, and plain-thinking, and interesting, and Anglo-Irish from somewhere near Cork. She would like to meet you, because she found me queer, and would like to study my surviving parent! And you would like her, and admire G.B.S. her husband). Enough of letters. They waste my time, and the other peoples. Some day I'll be strong minded enough to stop writing altogether. Till then I'll use up half my leisure saying No or Yes to all the world on paper.
I told you in a previous letter (that's the worst of writing between mails: it means saying everything over and over again: the China letters were terrible that way: half of them never got through, and the survivors only repeated the last one) that your Seven Pillars needn't be paid for. It is at the Bank's expense, not mine, and the Bank is now, or will be in November, repaid out of the profits of Revolt in the Desert, which has made £4,000 or £5,000 more than is needed to cover my debts. There is no need to make their surplus £4,030 or £5,030, which is all your cheque would do. You must know by now that I do not profit personally by anything connected with the Arab Revolt.
I'm glad you liked Clouds Hill. Of course the cottage has been much changed since I left it. But if I ever get it again I'll soon put it right. The upstairs room is only half-finished. It will some day be as good as its wonderful situation deserves. That heath country is the most beautiful I've seen, and the rhododendrons in Moreton Park climb up the oak trees, like creepers, and hang 50 feet in the air, in showers of blossom.
Graves has finished his book. It is to amuse the young, who can't read Revolt in the Desert. I don't care, now I'm abroad.
|Last revised:||12 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