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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Miss L. P. Black

13 Birmingham Street


Dear Miss Black

Two more absences on duty - but yesterday eventually we cracked the pudding. My landlady boiled and boiled it, spurred on by my promise of a share if she did it properly: and finally we all agreed that it had been an extraordinary good pudding. As a matter of fact, it is too soon to talk of it in the past tense. It is passing, certainly; but there will be more on Wednesday when I get back here from London: and I doubt (unless the landlady is greedy) if even that will be its past tense. A huge pudding and excellent. Thank you very much. They do improve with keeping: and are better apart from the rather forced associations of Christmas, don't you think?

Now about my cottage! Please no furniture. I have had great satisfaction and some exasperation in building everything that goes into place. Fenders, chairs, table, couches. It has two rooms and two of everything, accordingly: the whole place is designed for just the single inhabitant! It has neither rugs nor paint nor plaster nor wallpaper. Panelling; bookshelves; bare wood and un-dyed leather. A queer place, but great fun. No pictures or ornaments.

However I agree that you ought to be associated with some item of its interior: your kindness over so many years must be perpetuated. And I went there last Thursday and sat and thought. Tea-spoons, it is: and as tea is for visitors there should be four of them, I think. As yet I have no tea-cups or plates, but I have found a pottery near Poole and a month ago I threw a sample cup and saucer, which is drying. When it dries well, I hope to glaze it with galena, a lustrous brown-black which I used with great success before the war for earthenware - and then I shall have a decent tea-service.

So if you agree, will you send me four plainish tea spoons for four black tea-cups-to-be? It will be a very pleasant service and memory. Not yet memorial, while we both are alive ands kicking; but memory, certainly. I hope to visit Torquay this summer and revive it, too!


T E Shaw

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Source: DG 791-2
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 16 January 2006


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