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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to The Hon. Francis Rodd

Ozone Hotel,


Dear F.R.

By the accident that a friend of mine was passing my old lodgings in Southampton as my older landlady was handing your letter back to the postman, it reaches me here, only ten days late. I expect to work in Bridlington (on the ten Air Force boats that are refitting for next season) till the end of February when the R.A.F. goes on its way without me.

I shall feel unutterably lost without my blue covering. Twelve years it has been, of engrossing work with a very happy companionship for the off-duty hours. Few war-relics have been so fortunate as I in the aftermath.

I've even saved money and Robin Buxton has invested it for me until it brings in more than 25/- a week. So if you bogeymen (I read the New English Weekly!) don't crash the solar system shortly I should be able to live at peace in my cottage, with all the twenty four hours of the day to myself. Forty-six I am, and never yet had a whole week of leisure. What will 'for ever' feel like, and can I use it all?

Please note its address from March onwards - Clouds Hill, Moreton, Dorset - and visit it, sometime, if you still stravage the roads of England in a great car. The cottage has two rooms; one, upstairs, for music (a gramophone and records) and one downstairs for books. There is a bath, in a demi-cupboard. For food one goes a mile, to Bovington (near the Tank Corps Depot) and at sleep-time I take my great sleeping bag, embroidered MEUM, and spread it on what seems the nicest bit of floor. There is a second bag, embroidered TUUM, for guests.

The cottage looks simple, outside, and does no hurt to its setting which is twenty miles of broken heath and a river valley filled with rhododendrons run wild. I think everything, inside and outside my place, approaches perfection.

Now to business. That enclosed message ought to have been instantly dealt with, by a plain Yes or No. Will you please say No, for me, but not a plain No. Make it a coloured No, for the Elizabethan of [Blank's] naming has given me a moment of very rare pleasure which I shall not tell to anyone, nor forget.

Please explain how by accident it only came to me tonight, when I got back after work, too late to catch the evening mail from this petty seabord town.

These newspaper praises lead a fellow to write himself down as a proper fraud - and then along comes a real man to stake himself on the contrary opinion. It is heartening and I am more than grateful. 

There - please work all that into your 'NO': explain that I have a chance (if only I have the guts to take it) of next year possessing all my time.

Yours ever

T E Shaw.

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Source: DG 829-30
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 19 January 2006


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