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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his mother


[Southampton]

5.xi.33

Address me always at Clouds Hill, please: for though still at Birmmgham St. in Southampton, I feel it is now only for a little while more. And after this? I do not know.

Your letters take about two months and seem all to arrive: but from the little in them I read either that your life is flat, or that you are not too well in it. It is unsatisfactory, being so far apart. There is no reality in the exchange of only three letters in a year. All the news in them is stale. However, to repeat the usual things. I have not been yet to Oxford, to talk to your Bank: each time I try for it, some other duty comes in the way. Tomorrow, for instance, I am for Cowes: next day a conference at Hythe. The third day and fourth for Air Ministry in London.

The Odyssey copy did not return from China. Lent books are very often lost:- a truth the poor remains of my library, now all collected at Clouds Hill, abundantly illustrates. Only the half of my harvest survives. They fill one wall of the book-room, and one end. However books seem to flow upon me naturally. I get some every week.

The cottage is not finished. The boiler and bath are in course of installation, but will take quite two weeks more. I shall be so glad to have it to myself, after they finish. The works have dragged on all summer. Just now I am employing Pat and young Way and Cooper to dig a great water-tank in the ground below Mrs. Knowles garden, among the chestnut trees. This is being fitted with hydrant connections, for fire use: and when there are no heath-fires we can bathe in it: 40 feet by 7 by 5. I hope to roof it with glass, or leaves will choke it.

Mrs. Knowles has taken the plants from the cottage garden, and I have made several cuttings of bushes and limbs of trees: but there is too much growth for a week-end to cope with. I would like to spend two nights there, some month.

I have decided to take a lease of the other side of the road, all the tree-grown part, for £15 a year: and Godwin is preparing the lease. My water-works made this necessary. The ram is working very well.

Mrs. Hardy and Miss Fetherstonhaugh send messages. Both are well and at home. I see them very seldom now - but found them both on one afternoon a month ago. Arnie is not coming to Clouds Hill this autumn. I wrote and told him the place was too unfinished. Also he might be disturbed by there being no bed or food-preparing place. I must say I find the ruling-out of beds a great success. The little room upstairs where you used to sleep is going to become a work-room, I think, with cupboards for clothes and a food-table - Bread, cheese, butter and jams: also fruit.

I think that is all the news. I work at boats always, and am now getting my ideas generally accepted. Even our dear stick-in-the-mud Admiralty wants to borrow one! When I have evening time I try to revise the Odyssey for publication in U.S.A. as a school-book: but I have been all the summer on this, without getting half-way. There are no free evenings.

That seems to be all worth writing you. In a week or so I will try to say it again, to give two posts the chances of getting through: but it is thin stuff to send half across the world. What's Clouds Hill to China, or China to Clouds Hill!

N.

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Source: HL 382-4
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 14 February 2006

 



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