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T. E. Lawrence to Clare Sydney Smith



We (that is the other ranks of Mount Batten) have had a disappointment. We counted on the usual Christmas grant, with a substitute for those who did not take it, later: but yesterday notice came round that only the Monday and Tuesday are to be given, and no later alternative. So that rules me out. I am sorry, for it has been months since I saw you two. The other people, who had hoped to go home for Christmas, are sorry too, in their way. It makes it a little difficult for me to register my motor-bike, too.

I haven't read Grey Wolf. I know Armstrong, the man who wrote it. Should I read it? Kemal is a remarkable person, rather too successful.

Your dance sounds like a riot. I hope both of you enjoyed it enormously, and that no one trod on Leo's tail. Commend me to Leo.

Good about Biffy.

Gerald Kelly does paint Spanish things and people, usually. At least, he prefers brunettes. He paints well, but not well enough to be interesting: or so I think. Not to be sneezed at, if free of charge, but not to be paid for, unless you are very rich. His work is very decorative. I expect he is a good judge of a Ball. If he picks on you, then I shall not congratulate you with both sides of my mouth.

The present Duchess is all very well, in her way and as Duchesses go: but the beautiful one was Millicent, who remarried several times, afterwards, and must now be quite old and no longer a Duchess. She and her daughter were both lovely: but Millicent was witty and wise too.

You wouldn't find that 'back label' of T. E. S. much use now. Every dog has his day, I suppose, and mine lasted for years. That was more than I earned. The C/C cannot help it. He likes pulling legs: and it is a growing and attractive habit. Sometimes I almost feel tempted to indulge in it myself.

G. B. S. has gone off round the world on the Empress of Britain. Everybody wonders what he will do in America, which he has always refused to visit! It would be like the old man to take a boat home from Panama to miss the States. He would not have judged your Ball, anyway. The stern old moralist disapproves of us.

I’ve never seen Lady X.... She was a sort of traffic light for artists at one time: but my sort only saw the red side of her.

The Elgar Symphony still lies in your old house. I daren't carry records on my bike, and they are difficult to post. If you have a car at Salcombe, why not call for it? The Menuhin records of his Concerto are marvellous. Old Elgar himself played some of them to us last summer.

The Biscuit has not yet been asked to run. There is more mending up than I had realized. By Christmas, perhaps.


Source: GR 193-5
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 3 July 2006

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