Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to R. V. Buxton
Yesterday a tall thin creature walked up to me in the Camp: grinned at me: afterwards I saw it was my young brother, a queer creature, who is 30 and has a wife and one child. I thought he was in Spain and said 'What on earth brings you here?' 'House-hunting' he replied: as if there were any houses at Plymouth. Absurd.
It seems they really do want a house. It must, they say, have one large room, to serve as a study (he writes real books, not trash); nothing else matters, I gather. Should be within economical distance of London or Oxford, for the library's sake. Which is why they went to Bodmin to-day, I suppose, to look at a reformed farm-house.
Suddenly I have remembered your cottage-farm: you said you had no tenant. Is that so? Do you want a queer vague definite creature living there? Would it fit an oddment, a spare part, a child-of-the-old-age of my two extraordinary parents? We got madder as the tale increased. I was only the second son, he the fifth. It ended then, God be praised.
I picture you in pink, very mud-splashed and weary, late for your bath, and spoiling the dinner by keeping; all for inability to tear yourself away from my masterly depiction of life in the R.A.F. Only it isn't like that at all.
Lately a letter came to me from St. Andrews University (a miniature and charming place in Scotland) offering me an honorary degree as Doctor of Laws. 'Ha Ha' said I 'some undergrad is pulling my leg'. I replied accordingly, and have had dignified remonstrances from John Buchan and Barrie: it seems Baldwin particularly put my name. Worst of all, in honest praise of St. Andrews I said that if it were mine I'd wrap a clean napkin round it and keep it on the side-table to gloat at, like a Stilton. Apparently they dislike Stilton. Babares! Hoots mon: aweel.
|Last revised:||2 February 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