Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Arthur Hall
Back again, and the photos here. Thank you very much for them. I call them pretty good: we are as regimental as two button sticks. I look like an S.P. who has just caught you in the Bricklayers' Arms. Anyhow there can't be any row hereafter if I call you shortarse, can there? I had no idea I was so tall and thin and hard looking.
If you see the damsel who took them, please thank her from me for painting my face so smooth. She has done us both good: for you aren't (in real life) much more of a masterpiece than myself. Ask your wife for her candid opinion of us as beauty chorus.
How did Aston Villa do tomorrow?
I'd hoped to send you some tool-money, but the luck is still dead out. Wait a bit, before you get anything, please. It might be another fortnight before Felixstowe send me my credits. It is not easy to arrange that sort of thing by post, when you don't know the pay bloke you are writing to.
Meanwhile I’ve been having a dust-up with the Chief Constable of your town. A Mrs. [name omitted] kept on writing me letters, calling me Jim and begging me to go back to her and all would be forgiven. I answered the first one, saying that I wasn't her Jim and didn't know her from Eve: but she went on writing about twice a week, from a place called [name omitted].
So finally after about two years of it, I wrote to your Chief Copper and asked if as a favour he'd send an officer to ask her to abate her nuisance. I asked him to do it gently, because I thought the poor woman was mad.
He replied in a letter (not even marked confidential) addressed to the C.O. Bridlington R.A.F. saying that Mrs. [name omitted] had been interviewed, was 53, eccentric, a widow, two grown-up sons: that she had lived with me throughout the war, while I served in an Anti Aircraft Battery at Birmingham - and that she had no intention of ceasing to write to me.
I sent him back a snorter, saying that I had written to him personally, and he had no right to communicate with my supposed C.O. That in a big station his action would have led to much gossip, very unpleasant to myself: but that fortunately there was no C.O. at Bridlington, and so his letter had come direct to myself!
Since then, complete silence from my abandoned widow and from the Chief Copper.
Please give my regards to the Hallets and to Mrs. Hall. All is very well here, and the work well up to time.
|Last revised:||15 January 2005|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset