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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Lord Carlow

14th September [1934]

Dear Carlow

It's an extraordinary place-name; but then, if one knew Gaelic all would be clear. As for fishing - but then, I'm not sporting. Nor do I greatly like eating the creatures.

On the whole, therefore, Southampton is better for me, especially in this heavenly weather. We are adding the best September I can recollect to a year that has been safely dry beyond the average. 1933 splendid. 1934 - splendid. What a 1935 we have earned! You do well to think of a new yacht. If our arrears of rain come, we will all creep into it (two by two) until it comes to rest on Ararat.

Your voyage sounds like a rough one, at least you were not wrecked like Noel Coward on Corsica from his M.L. But then, you are a navigator. Noah again, you see. Noah was a navigator.

My life? Average busy. In the last month it has been Wolverhampton, Kent, Nottingham, London, Plymouth. In between times I have been at Hythe. No more big boats, for this year. There are 5 dinghies to finish, a new Diesel to test in a round-bottomed hull, and a 24 foot boat for the Australian Air Force.

In the winter they propose to move me to Bridlington, in Yorkshire, to oversee the repair of the ten R.A.F. boats that work the bombing range there. That would cover November to February - and February 28 is world's end for me. It will be queer to wake up that morning and know that thence-forward there is no single thing that I must do. I have never owned my whole 24 hours - never in my life yet - and this liberty will come so abruptly that I shall be puzzled what to do with it. I wish there was any one thing in the world that I wanted to do. Perhaps vacancy will breed a wish.

Yes, when the Firefly comes speeding south again, give me a ring at Hythe and let us meet. I shan't have anything to give you, but your company is exhilarating. So do ring that 102 telephone; if you are in some friendly house that will let you borrow their mouth-piece for trunk calls. It lies on my conscience that you so often ring up vainly.

Yours ever

T.E. Shaw

[2 lines omitted]

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Source: DG 818-9
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 18 January 2006


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