LAWRENCE, T.E. Autograph note signed with initials as T.E. Shaw, 'W.E.B. from T.E.S. A measly return for unlimited good coffee. 3/2/29', 4° sheet folded twice (small hole on fold, a little spotted and marked), loosely inserted in: T.E. LAWRENCE. Revolt in the Desert. London: Jonathan Cape, 1927. 8° (233 x 160mm). Frontispiece and 15 plates, folding map. (Occasional spotting, short tear on map.) Original buckram, spine lettered in gilt (some fading, lower hinge split). First edition, second impression. The second of five impressions published in March 1927; after the royalties from sales had paid off Lawrence's debts, the author implemented a clause in the contract permitting him to halt the publication of further impressions (cf. O'Brien A102, note). [With:]
4 monochrome photographs of Lawrence, 1928-9, each c. 111 x 70mm, depicting Lawrence (1), Lawrence and Bridger (1), and Lawrence, Bridger and other members of the crew (2), on board R.M.S. 'Rajputana', that of Lawrence signed 'T.E. Shaw , 20/1/29' (photographs somewhat faded).
Provenance: Walter Ernest Bridger (1904-1979, and by descent).
A PRESENTATION NOTE ACCOMPANYING REVOLT IN THE DESERT AND INSCRIBED PHOTOGRAPHS DEPICTING LAWRENCE DURING HIS VOYAGE FROM INDIA TO ENGLAND ON BOARD R.M.S. 'RAJPUTANA'. Lawrence joined the RAF as T.E. Shaw in 1925, and was transferred to Karachi, India in early 1927. However, following disputes with a new commanding officer, Lawrence was posted to Miranshah (on the border of India and Afghanistan). After the publication of unsubstantiated allegations in the press that Lawrence was spying in Afghanistan, it was decided by the authorities that Lawrence's presence in the area was politically embarrassing (a situation exacerbated by an uprising in the area in December 1928), and he was flown to Lahore in early January 1929. On 12 January he boarded the R.M.S. 'Rajputana', bound for England, and met Bridger, who was the Second Saloon Smoke Room Attendant on the ship. In the course of the voyage (during which the present photographs were taken), Lawrence worked on his translation of Homer's Odyssey, and the ship reached English waters in early February, when Lawrence disembarked at Plymouth (rather than Tilbury), in order to avoid further publicity. Once he had arrived home, Lawrence sent Bridger 'the measly return' of this copy of Revolt in the Desert, with the accompanying note. Together with: Bridger's 'Continuous Certificate of Discharge' covering the period 31 December 1923-9 January 1932 (with inkstamped date 4 February 1929 as the date of his discharge from the 'Rajputana' at Tilbury, amended in manuscript to 3 February) and a white metal ashtray with central vesta case bearing the device of R.M.S. 'Rajputana' in enamel. (8)