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T. E. Lawrence to his mother


Karachi

4.xi.27

Please let me off parcels. The duty makes them a real inconvenience. Books came free by book-post: but I get so many that I cannot read the half of them. The camp's electric-light is very poor: or my eyes are failing: I don't know which: but anyway I do not find it possible to read by night: and that is most of the reading time we have.

Mrs. Shaw has sent me Gertrude's letters, which you speak of getting. They are very like her: the eager emotional self. Sir Hugh Bell, her father, to whom she sent them, was a person she liked. They used to exchange letters very often. They have now closed down the English edition of Revolt in the Desert: so that is finished. I hope it will never be reprinted in my lifetime: but of course it now belongs to the three Trustees (Eliot, Buxton, and D.G.H.) and I have no say in it: it was very good of them to withdraw it for my benefit.

I am sorry to hear of Mr. Hutchins' death: she, I believe, is paralysed. That makes things bad for Louie. I'm afraid Henry will have a hard time of it with the business, now.

I have seen a review of Arnie's book: so it is out. Unfortunately it will not sell enough to pay him a royalty. Publishers take on that sort of book for the dignity it gives them. They make their money on biography and novels, and drop a percentage of it on serious books, for the look of the thing. Of course if it was capable of being a schoolbook:- but it is too specialist for that. However Arnie does not expect it to be profitable. He has ideas, I think, of writing something more saleable, some day. I wish there was some way of securing him £500 a year, extra.

Chaundy has one very rare and good book of mine: Cavendish's life of Cardinal Wolsey, which you would probably like. Richards all my other books, if ever you want any. There are still a lot of Kelmscotts': though I had to sell my Shakespeare and Dante.

I'm glad Dr. James passes you: he did a very wonderful job, last tune, to my teeth. They are as good as new, now. No, I won't pay the balance on Clouds Hill till I get back. The Land Agent there had three years in which to complete the deed of sale. I called on him a dozen times for it: but he was so dilatory that he wouldn't face it. So now I'll let him wait. Not that he has yet done anything. Indeed probably the deed won't be ready when I get back. Then I can pay it (less the £300) out of a Seven Pillars. D.G.H. has one for me, and Richards, I believe, another. The two together will be worth at least £400, even in 1930, when I expect to get back.

Arnie has looked after my insurance. I will be able to pay him its amount in a few weeks. The Spectator pays me occasionally for unsigned reviews I do for them: only till the royalties of Revolt have come in, and paid my overdraft to the Bank, I don't quite know how I stand, financially. I expect I have really far more money there than I think: only I've determined to draw none of it until the overdraft is paid off. It is difficult to run two or three accounts, especially from a foreign country!

N.

Source: HL 369-70
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 12 February 2006


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