T. E. Lawrence to H.G. Hayter
It feels months since I was in Miranshah - and is just a fortnight. Everything is very strange.
The telegram from you and Daphne arrived on board just as the ship sailed. It was very kindly of you. I hope it will indeed be better, now: but at Port Said, last stop, they picketed the quay-side to prevent my going ashore. I'd like to say something with a B in it about the India Government. In London I'll find out what really passed, concerning me, and try to ensure that they do not serve anyone else so.
I forgot two books, as I left: if they are still there, and it is easy for you, please send them also to T E Shaw, at 14 Barton Street. They are volumes I and II of William Morris' book The Well at the World's End. Fine things, and I am fond of them: but no matter if they are out.
Major Peirrot, who used to be Political Agent at Miranshah, is on the ship, going to England: and I will get him, or one of the other passengers, to take this up from Marseilles to post in England. I go round with the ship, of course: and do not get to London till February 1. There is no news yet of my posting: but I believe it may be Cattewater, where the ship stops for an hour or two, on her way up Channel. Corporal Easton will be jealous of me. I will be quite content and happy if I do not get the sack out of all this.
The only blessing has been the dodging a return by trooper. This is a 16000 ton ship, and we have had a smooth journey. Second-class is comfortable. I have a cabin to myself, as the ship is nearly empty: and pass the whole day in it, working at that Greek book. Since we left Bombay I have done three sections of it - just as much as I did at Miranshah, all the while I was there. So you see things have moved. They are not finished, these sections: they will need fair-copying and typing out in London, during my month's leave: but they represent a good two months of Miranshah production, done in two weeks. Voyages are binding things, and I'm lucky to have had this job to keep me busy.
At Karachi an irk lent me a civvy suit: so I sort of pass muster in the crowd. They stare at me too much for comfort. However, there it is. I shall be stared at, goodness knows, a lot more in England.
You will have heard from Mr. Olson that I wasn't allowed to go to Delhi. So I could do nothing with the A.V.M., of what I'd hoped. How is my successor? Does he curse me, all the day, for leaving everything loose? To go off at a night's notice, like that, wasn't fair on me.
I will send you a line after I've reported at the Air Ministry (yes, that's my orders: bad ones, I fear) to say what next: or when the death sentence will be carried out.
Again many thanks for that telegram.
T E Shaw
|Last revised:||20 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