London, South Kensington
25 November 2014
LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward (1888–1935). Two autograph letters signed (‘R’ for [John Hume] Ross, his early pseudonym) to [R.A.M. Guy], n.p. [the second from Bovington], ‘Tuesday’ and 8 July 1923, one page, 4to and 3½ pages, 8vo, bifolium.
Lawrence writes to a close friend from RAF Farnborough, the young aircraftman Robert Guy, apparently referring to his imminent transfer to the Army tank corps at Bovington Camp and making plans to meet, ending with the rather opaque line: ‘Embrocation is no cure against old age’. By 8 July, Lawrence's move had been completed, and he found himself on never-ending guard-duty: ‘I wish I was dead ... the crowd here think I’m uppish & must be brought down. Consequence I swank intolerably. I wish there was a Rabbit in camp to take off the edge of my soreness upon. You’d have a dog’s life of it here’.
Lawrence had struck up a close relationship with Bob Guy whilst stationed at Farnborough; letters written after his removal to Bovington – where he was very unhappy, eventually threatening suicide to be allowed to transfer to the RAF – affect a tender, teasing tone, and are addressed to ‘my Rabbit’ or ‘Poppet’. Lawrence would later describe Guy as ‘beautiful, like a Greek God’, but with a ‘vile’ Birmingham accent.
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