“I NEVER CARE WHAT PEOPLE SAY OF ME OR ABOUT ME, BUT I TRY NOT TO HELP THEM TO DO IT, AND I WILL NOT DO IT MYSELF. IT IS UNPLEASANT TO SEE ONE’S NAME IN PRINT — AND IN SPITE OF THE VERY NICE WAY LOWELL THOMAS DOES IT, I MUCH WISH HE HAD LEFT ME OUT OF HIS PALESTINE SHOW.”
LAWRENCE, T(HOMAS) E(DWARD) [LAWRENCE OF ARABIA]. (1888-1935). British adventurer, soldier and author. Choice Autograph Letter Signed, “T.E. Lawrence”. One full page, octavo. No place, December 5, 1919. Even toning, else fine condition. Accompanied by original envelope addressed to “P. Burton, Esq., Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, W.”, with a three-halfpence stamp and postal cancellations. Lawrence writes:
“Dear Mr. Burton, I’m afraid I can’t do this. I never care what people say of me or about me, but I try not to help them to do it, and I will not do it myself. It is unpleasant to see one’s name in print—and in spite of the very nice way Lowell Thomas does it, I much wish he had left me out of his Palestine show. I’m very sorry for appearing so sluggish. Yours sincerely, T.E. Lawrence”.
From October-December 1919, the Royal Albert Hall hosted an American film about a rather obscure British battlefield in the Middle East and catapulted a young British army Commander – TE Lawrence better known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ from obscurity to instant fame. The film, titled: ‘With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia’ was made by American journalist, Lowell Thomas who had been sent by the American Government to film the war. Finding France had been well covered by other journalists, he heard that the British army in Palestine were about to capture Jerusalem from the Turks and he headed there with his cameraman.
Once in Palestine, he was stunned to find this young British army officer, with fair hair and piercing blue eyes, who spoke fluent Arabic, dressed in Arab robes and lived as a local. He immediately knew that he had found the subject of his film.
It was this combination of exotic good looks and real heroism that made Lawrence a modern day hero. Lawrence even received wedding proposals when the film was released and took to wearing a disguise around London! When the film came to the Hall in October 1919, over 10,000 people a day came to see it including Queen Mary who personally congratulated Mr. Thomas in the Royal Box on his eloquent description and his wonderful pictorial record of the campaign. [info courtesy, royaalalberthall.com website]
Lawrence letters are of some scarcity, and any letter from this early period, is of extreme rarity. A simply choice example, with the best of associations.