27 September 2006
THOMAS EDWARD LAWRENCE (1888-1935)
Autograph letter signed ('T.E. Shaw') to H.W. Bailey, Southampton, 21 December 1933, 1½ pages, folio, autograph envelope.
'I GET OLD AND FAT AND WHITE-HAIRED -- LIKE A GREAT HOARY SLUG' -- SELF-MOCKERY IN THE CONTEXT OF 'THESE DEPRESSED TIMES'.
At the end of the year Lawrence anticipates his retirement from the R.A.F.: 'Another Christmas: the things race after each other like the legs of a centipede.......In 14 months they give me a lounge suit and out I go: but I've saved a little money and hope to be able to hold out in my cottage (Clouds Hill, Moreton, Dorset) without having to do any other job. It will feel odd to possess all twenty-four hours of each day!'
Having considered retiring early, Lawrence was still supervising the construction of boats for the R.A.F. and evidently growing tired of it -- 'repetitions are dull things. Time I handed over to someone fresh'. His limited free time was taken up with tasks at Clouds Hill, where he was carrying out improvements, including the installation of a proper water supply, while letters to other correspondents at the end of 1933 suggest that he was contemplating some further literary activity to fill the time that he would one day have on his hands.
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