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T. E. Lawrence to F. N. Doubleday


Mount Batten
Plymouth

2.9.30.

Effendim,

I have been slow in answering your letter, but I was occupied in gathering some money, which I have thrown (or rather, reserved for throwing) into Purdy's lap. In fact I have written to him this week for a spare shaft and gear wheel for my boat-of-boats. It is very good of you to have told him I'm all right. He will trust me about bills. All the more needful, you see, that the trust is not misplaced. Now I have £10 in hand, so all is well. Boat-owners should be millionaires, I fear. You should get a Purdy boat, and have Mrs. Doubleday drive you over the water. On hot days (phew, it has been hot here for a fortnight, a little taste of heaven, which I feel will be sub-tropical) to run at 40 m.p.h. over the rise and fall of a tired sea-swell is the most refreshing feeling in the world.

So good has Plymouth Sound become, in consequence, that I have done little else but enjoy myself for three weeks. Since you left, until this last period, summer was only a wet ruin. Now all is well.

New York, so the newspapers say, has had heat-wave upon heat-wave. I hope that is true, and that life at Oyster Bay has been open-windowed, leisurely and iced: while the sweating myrmidons in Garden City behind the scenes have been struggling with giant presses, rolling off dollar books by the half-million. The dollar books will be a benefit to the whole world, if they succeed: and if they fail, you will have dropped most nobly. After 50 years of success you are entitled to lose money grandly. After all, what fun would there be for Nelson, if you left him no markets to conquer? and with a name like, that, Nelson Doubleday, conquering becomes not merely an instinct but a duty.

I say, have you considered acquiring all the rights to Noel Coward? [16 words omitted] He writes English like Congreve, and when G.B.S. goes, will be the main force in the English theatre. I should nobble him, if nobbleable, on both sides of the Atlantic: if I were a publisher: but Lord, what a rotten publisher I should be.

Mrs. Doubleday has the final paragraph: and at once I think of both your healths. I hope she is well: and strong enough to do all she wants for you. Your lack of mobility makes hers so very important and so she is tempted to over-push her strength.

I flew over Kipling's garden last Saturday, and again yesterday, on my way back here from Folkestone. We tilted the Moth up on one wing-tip and spun round and round over his garden. I wonder what he said: and can guess it nearly. That's where you and I have the advantage over Mrs. Doubleday. She couldn't guess, ever, what an angry poet would say!

Yours

T.E.S.

Source: DG 695-6
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 February 2006


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