Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to B. H. Liddell Hart
This is the penalty of my going away - typewritten letters to everybody. It means that there are so many letters on my table waiting reply that I have to tackle them in my office (R.A.F.) time. Rattling away on a typewriter sounds like work to them, so I can do it hour after hours; whereas to stop the noise and write would be obviously scrounging.
I got your first letter just the day I went away; and as usual I went away all standing, leaving my table just as it was. Then when I got back there was your second in its place among its contemporaries. The Post Corporal and I have evolved a marvellous system of arrangement, by which I get mail in its historical order, however long my delay. I had marked it for reply, by not throwing it into the fire basket - I do all my filing in the office stove - when up turned No. 3, yesterday.
So I have departed from strict justice, and am knocking this off to you before its fellows.
My travels are not yet over. I go away again on Friday week, for about ten days, and am to test another motor-boat engine after that, before Christmas. So it looks as though I should be booked fairly until the year ends.
One thing the outdoor work does allow - plenty of evening. After work we must write up our logs, and eat, and the rest of the night is ours, till bed-time, and bed-time is ours, too. No private bugles blow for us.
Foch: you astonish me with the news of it. I had an idea it was for the spring. Yes, I would very much like to see it; only you have given me so many books. Why not lend it? Then if it is as I hoped, I'll have to buy it, after returning you yours. I have ten days here, as a mathematician would deduce from two paragraphs up.
Do you like Foch now? When you spoke of it, you were anxious not to attack or demolish, and puzzled how to make him appear anyhow big.
I hope this financial season has not hit you hard. They started out by cutting a quarter of my pay away, but after a naval demonstration let me off with 10%. Good for the Navy, we thought, for we profited by them, and kept our reputation for loyalty, too. Even the 10% makes a difference, I find.
However some storm losses are inevitable.
|Last revised:||15 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