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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to John Buchan



Dear J.B.

This ^ new style portends my discharge from the R.A.F. Tomorrow you and I will be alike in one respect - as old Colonels: neither of us, probably, ever using the rank ourselves, but given it by an ignorant public habitually.

Today I have posted you the typescript (about 60000 words) of my R.A.F. journal. You said I might, in your last letter; but I send it apologetically. Typescripts are messy to read. You are a busy man. The story has more shadow than sunlight in it. Its language is often grossly obscene, for it is the language of the troops. And besides I have a fear that in it I have given away my limitations more bluntly than I would wish.

However, there it is. The fragment is unpublished, and not likely-to-be-published. I suspect it is better writing than my Seven Pillars, and if you could confirm that suspicion, I might be tempted into trying to write something again. Retirement without plan is a rather daunting state, and I am a little frightened of being completely my own master.

If the weather is anyways possible, I shall cycle down in slow stages from here to Dorset, to my cottage. The road passes near Elsefield, and I may, if dry and warmish, call at your house as I pass. You will be in London, or Nice or Perth... no matter. Ahead of me there isn't a single engagement.. after 4 p.m. today!

Yours ever

T E Shaw

Source: DG 858
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 15 January 2006

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