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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to R. V. Buxton


Mount Batten,
Plymouth

[c.April 1930]

Dear Robin,

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.

T.E.S.

Source: DG 687-8
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 February 2006


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