Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Lionel Curtis
'10 St. James Square will always find us.' Good. I have been meaning to write to you for months. 'You' is good. Which? Don't ask me.
F/Lt Smetham sent me from Kohat in India to photographs of myself: one life-size (about): the other more of a white man's burden. These, he said, were for you and All Souls. Fortunately, I played buffer state between him and outraged Oxford Society: (photograph in the college! Lord!!!) and stuffed them into a bag in Barton Street. Not but what they were beautiful photographs: T.E.S. against a Waziri desert, softly lit, nursing his excessive chin with one bent arm.
An American lady, Mrs [name omitted] of Euclid Avenue Ohio, wrote to me last week, (via the War Department, London) 'You are my ideal of a real he-man'. The letter had been opened in Air Ministry. I hope they take it to heart. That's the dope they want in the R.A.F.
In October, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, I burgled your house. Ralph was kind to me, and let me out. We found a title deed to some land of mine in Epping Forest, and sent it to the Chingford Urban District Council, whom the Forest Commissioners are bullying into buying it. The house was a wilderness of bricks: and not itself therefore. I suggested to R. that perhaps Mr. Curtis was building an Empire: but he said it was an enlarged study. That is like the Admiralty, whose staff grows as a Navy shrinks.
In a few days you go to the USA. Excellent. Do not hesitate to go from them, too. If you see Ivy Lee, will you give him my regards? He sends me papers sometimes: and I cannot retaliate. If I were you, I'd dash him an interleaved few chapters about the Jewish Constitution and settle him for good.
I spend innocent days, R.A.F.ing: an all-night study to turn Homer into English. Why? Why for money, of course. I am broke at present.
Will you (Sing. Fem) ask You (Sing. Masc) to get the Rockefeller Institute to dash me a million dollars (less would be an infra dignitatem as O'Casey says: do try and see The Silver Tassie, his play, in New York. It is astounding) upon some pretext or other. Homer is so slow way of earning money.
No news. Since Nov. I have not been out of camp, except once a month, to get my hair cut. It blows: rains: hails: and we are all healthy and happy. May you be so too.
|Last revised:||28 October 2008|
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