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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to W. E. Jeffrey

Clouds Hill,



This will be late for Christmas, but so much the better. I hate writing Christmas letters.

Posh (Palmer) asked lately what had happened to you. 'The little beast's a sergeant' I enviously snarled. Some have the luck' he replied. It is strange thinking for an A.C.1. Do you ever meet the R.A.F. in your country? They are good people.

My life is building boats for them, and I live in Southampton for half the year, overseeing the jobs. Not a bad life. I am never on parade except when I inspect myself on getting out of bed each morning. What a happy life it would be if one got up only whenever the sheets wanted changing! I grow so old and fat and white-haired. Each trooper that returns to England I escort up Southampton Water (in one of my experimental boats) and scan for signs of a long thin sergeant in a beret. No luck yet. Come home soon, for in March 1935 I relapse into a lounge suit, and go to live at Clouds Hill.

That cottage is just as you knew it, outside, only more overgrown with trees: but inside there have been changes. I made some money out of a version of Homer's Odyssey in the States, and have put in water, and a boiler and a bath: while the larger ground-floor room is now shelved and plank-floored and half-full of books. Upstairs no change, except that I have abolished the bed, and just bug down anywhere, in the rare weekends I spend in the place.

Mrs. Knowles still lives opposite, and helps to care for the place in my absence. I hope to see you enter it, one day. April 1934 you thought, in your last letter. Do warn me in time. I might still be in Southampton, then: though my true station is Felixstowe in Suffolk.

Banbury is at Lulworth: married: one child and a garden. All serene yet!

Best of luck to you; I shall so much enjoy seeing you. Damn all letter-writing.


T E Shaw

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Source: DG 784-5
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 21 January 2006


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