T. E. Lawrence to A.E. Chambers
So there you are. One said dead, one deserted, one signed on: and all the while you sort letters in the Post Office. Such a nice job, sorter. If you send the Glasgow letters to Costa Rica nobody can trace it to you: and the Daily Mail makes a snappy paragraph and Punch ditto.
I am now at Cattewater, and very seldom stir out of camp: so we can't hope to meet till my leave comes, if come it does. I hoard that month, against the dread day that a film about me may be released. If it comes I take the month, and hide somewhere.
Clouds Hill is still there. I saw it for an hour in February. It is lovely as ever: only chimney-pots are added as a monument of the new tenants' taste. Jock, the old tenants were 'some' people. You and me, and Guy, of the R.A.F. and the brothers Salmond, (Marshals of sorts) Hardy, Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, poets: Forster, Tomlinson, Garnett, prose-writers. Spencer and John, artists. It was a good place while it lasted. I wish there was a Clouds Hill in every camp, assigned for the use of aircraft hands.
One Serg-Pilot Thomson asked lovingly after you lately. I told him you were dead. He said it was unlikely. More probably you were making someone carry a bag of your books.
The books have not increased much, in the last five years. Sometimes I send three or four to join the others in Richards' hands: sometimes I part with a few. Richards himself has now gone to S. Wales, and his brother, Dr. E.M. Richards of 3 Loudoun Road, St. John's Wood (not so far from Dollis Hill: Oval Tube and then walk it, probably) has them in his house. If you had this letter, and found him in, he would let you take a bag-full of them away, and exchange at leisure.
Jock, I'm very weary of being stared at and discussed and praised. What can one do to be forgotten? After I'm dead they'll rattle my bones about, in their curiosity.
I've put W.C. Chambers, because those obviously aren't your initials. We always called you Jock for short. What's C.E. in the address?
|Last revised:||30 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