LAWRENCE, T.E. (1888-1935). Autograph letter signed ("T.E. Shaw") to N.S. Cursley, and editor with the News Chronicle of Manchester, Southampton, 27 November 1933. 1½ pages, folio, with original envelope (defective), partial separation at a few folds.
An insightful letter voicing his well-known desire to remain out of the public eye. "As the deep chest of unanswered letters on my chair has been sorted through today, up popped a letter from you...suggesting that I might come to the R[oyal] T[ank] C[orps] dinner as guest. By good luck the crisis is well over, so a plain apology will do. Indeed I was in the Tank Corps, for nearly three years--good ones, too, except when the professors of your profession [i.e. journalists] complicated my position--but it was as a private. Pte. 1st class, I'll admit...So I should have felt awkward, had some accident dropped me into one of the chairs. Nor have I been to a dinner for sixteen years: nor ever spoken at a dinner. Nor do I think these things worth beginning on, at my time of life. The clothes, the journey, the night's lodging, all mean either money or obligation. The less money a man has, the more he wants to pay his way.
"Wherefore please thank your committee, and say that although beholden to the R.T.C., I cannot pay my debts in social service. Dislike of publicity is usually a lack of assurance, and I don't want to know which is worse--a fancy paragraph in the Daily Express, or the being stared at by some 150 guests who have found their idea of me on that paragraph.
"Pressmen sometimes cheer themselves on with the feeling that what they say does not matter tomorrow: and it will be all right when that becomes true. Meanwhile we live in that rather painful epoch, between the papers that people believed, and the papers that they read as a joke. Roll on..."