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T. E. Lawrence to J. G. Wilson



Dear Wilson,

You've got Palmer a most excellent price: I never hoped for as much as £400 for his proofs. It will set him up, probably for good, when he leaves the army in a few months' time and tries to start some business. In the old days I knew Colonel Isham, slightly, via Winston. He never gave me any idea that he was rich, or that he collected books. But he wrote to me some weeks back, and asked if I could let him have a Seven Pillars. I replied that they were all gone, and weren't worth their market price. There was an Anglo-Saxon proverb that if wilful would to water wilful must drench. [27 lines omitted]

Gertrude's Letters came to me, and I read them with delight. They are very good, and well display her eagerness and emotion. I do not think that much of importance was edited out of these particular letters. Gertrude was not a good judge of men or situations: and was always the slave of some momentary power: at one time Hogarth, at another Wilson, at another me, at last Sir Percy Cox. She changed her direction each time like a weathercock: because she had no great depth of mind. But depth and strength of emotion - Oh Lord yes. Her life had crisis after crisis of that sort: and they are all missing from the book. Very probably they were missing from her letters home. A wonderful person. Not very like a woman, you know: they make much of her concern in dress:- but the results! She reminded me, in one dress, of a blue jay. Her clothes and colours were always wrong.

No, we have no wireless, and I don't look at papers: so these current questions only come to me after they have settled down into answers. Sir Henry Wilson's Diaries, he showed me some of them, reflected his own unwise, hot, political nature. He was a good soldier and a poor politician - always in one extreme or other, but admired by the sober, since his opinions were always extreme-right. A Die-hard Roger-Casement, with a dash of Marlborough. I begged him not to exhibit his folly in cold print. He showed himself pitiably blind, here and there - and I suppose they'll have censored those bits out. If you keep a diary don't prophesy in it - or if you do, correct your prophecies ten years later. So you may carry off a reputation for being wise. I liked Wilson: though he played deep games, not too cleanly: and was a monkey.

Apologies for so long a letter. All's well here. Happy the airman that has no history, and a blank crime-sheet.



Source: DG 543-544
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 20 February 2006

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