T. E. Lawrence to his mother
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!
|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