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T. E. Lawrence to F.N. Doubleday


Cattewater
Plymouth

28.VI.29

Effendim,

I have done ten days solid duty in camp, and am again free to go out: only instead of that I write you a line, to recall that very golden day we had. Do you know, It was all exquisite? Kingswood, Kipling, Knole, Ashdown Forest, the lunch. Years since I drove, lordly, in a pleasure car: the R.A.F. has its transport, of course, but that is hardly driving. The leisure of our progress along the roads, and the warmth and good talk inside the car all left a happy feeling. It was a great, exceptional day: and as it gets more distant I perceive my debt to you an increasing one. You is plural. Mrs. Doubleday at last loses the distinction of a postscript. She made half the pleasure of that trip. I hope that you and she also still enjoy it.
Of course it isn't so rare a pleasure, for you. You (and she) would have to join the Air Force to squeeze all the flavour out of luxury. Only when one person is as happy as I was, the other two must have felt some sunshine.

The R.A.F. here appears to value my services. At least I work all day at its jobs. Just I have half an hour in the morning, before breakfast, which I keep for my own reading. I make the half-hour, by getting up before reveille. One can't read in odd half-hours: reading is to soak oneself hour after hour all day in a single real book, until the book is realler than one's chair of world: but I've done most the The Brook Kerith in these half-hours: and tasted the Heinemann life (only half-kind to him, that book is. It feels as though the poor little man hadn't been properly understood) and read all Enid Bagnold's Happy Foreigner. That last is surprisingly distinguished. I give her full marks for a good book.

Frere-Reeve wrote to me, two excellent letters, about good printing. I shall go to see him, when, or if, I get leave in October. I have a design of sliding down some odd day (Dear, it will be an odd day!) if he permits it, and I achieve it, with Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Shaw to look at Kingswood. You would like Mrs. Shaw. She is quaint and comfortable, and fresh, and kind. G.B.S. is exciting, per contra. Together they are like bacon and eggs, and harmony in blue and silver. I fear I talk nonsense.

Do go on writing your memoirs. Put in that story about the roses pinned to the pickets. Dictate quite a lot, for then that dry sparkle will cling to the words. Pens are stiff things to hold, and they make our words too mannered.

Not to spoil the pleasure ship with work I put a business request on a spare sheet. Remember me very much to Mrs. Doubleday. Tell her to start imagining another excursion for next time. If its only 1/10 as good as that it'll be good enough.

Yours,

T.E. Shaw

I've had twinges of conscience, since that perhaps I tempted you to overdo things that day. I am so indecently fit and durable. I hope you were not ill or tired, even.

Source: DG 661-662  
Checked: dn/  
Last revised: 31 January 2006  


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