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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to G. Wren Howard

Ozone Hotel,


Dear Howard,

My sense of fitness makes me feel that all book people should take their hats off to Walmsley... whose Three Fevers has proved not a flash in the pan but the hefty beginning of a family. Of course he may count the E. African flying shocker, but I find it less admirable than these coastal sketches, which are charming. I want to prefer him to Stephen Reynolds, for he has not his predecessor's irritating sense of the difference between a complicated man and a worker: but am restrained by the sense of the surprise I feel, each time he brings a book off. It seems to happen ultra vires, or widdershins; it shouldn’t be possible to write great books like that... or are they just charming books? I don’t know, for I like them too well to judge.

Back to the hat-lifting. My R.A.F. cap (which will crown me for only a month more) doesn't lift; yet after it I shall probably never own a hat. So I can't actually honour him: but if he still sticks close to Robin Hood Bay wouldn't it be fitting if I ran up there late in February with one of these R.A.F. boats we are overhauling here (I could call the jaunt a trial, and it would take an hour each way, weather being good... and if it was dirty weather I couldn’t very well suggest such a trip) and blow my Klaxon towards his beach? He is not reverenced in his own county, I find. In Hull and York and elsewhere I have had mild rows with the local booksellers for their not selling him in basketsfull. I should like to show the R.A.F. here how they stand towards him. If it was summer time, I'd take the fleet of ten boats up and serenade him properly: but we don't launch the first till Feb. 20 and I'm due out by March 1. So that's impossible. Perhaps he is away, spending his enormous royalties at Monte Carlo? Anyhow he's a real writer. Cherish him.

Yours ever


Source: DG 846-7
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 15 January 2005

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