T. E. Lawrence to H.S. Ede
Indeed I'm getting steadily worse as a letter-writer: but if you sat in Drigh Road (where at this season there is absolutely no grazing for a camel) your hump too would shrink, and you would be chary of exercise.
Instead I picture you and Aitken sitting on the steps of the staircase by the Sargents, and fishing out portfolios from a brown flood with bent pins and broomsticks. It will be amazingly good for the Tate to have lost all its cellar-collection by an Act of God. I can see 'Lost in Flood' in Aitken's neat handwriting ticketed against purchase after purchase of the Chantrey bequest. Besides you'll now be able to decorate your dining room again. Good luck to the Tate. It deserves it!
Of course your view of death is right, and all that: but it will not save you from a sense of loss when someone you like goes. I had (and perhaps still have) a hedge full of trees: they are old: and whenever one falls I miss something of what used to be the shapeliness of that hedge. So Hogarth is part, a great part, of the background of my life fallen away. He was my realisation of Oxford, the concrete thing which Oxford stood for in my mind. Now Thomas Hardy has followed him into that very rich company. I am sorry for T.H.'s going too, though less so, for T.H. had perfected himself in his work, and went into the grave very poor in spirit. Whereas Hogarth put so much of his force into the acts of living.
My Christmas passed quietly, in the guardroom, where I was one of four on guard. The camp was drunk, as a body: so the guardroom was a good place. I often go there on a holiday, swapping turns with some convivial fellow.
No, I've not been to Kashmir. As a matter of fact I have reasons for staying put: reasons which have kept me within the boundary of our camp since I have been here. So I have not even seen Karachi - which is very far from Kashmir.
My next port of call will be, I hope, Southampton in 1930 or 1932. It seems only a little way off now. The first four years, so the R.A.F. says, are the worst.
|Last revised:||6 January 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