Lot 115
Sold for £1,800 (US$ 3,025) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("TE Shaw"), to his RAF colleague [Harold Claude] Herbert, hoping a replacement typewriter is on its way: "Any news of the M'Shah typewriter? The 'E' on this one has taken to leaping out – Oh a quite proper leap, of six inches or more – and I stick it in with gum-arabic. That lasts about a week, each time: but it leaped all over the table like a spring salmon before I tumbled to the Gum Arabic idea"; and asking him intercede with whoever is in charge of pay on behalf of Corporal Easton, "W/T King", and himself: "Will you be good enough to lay this note at his feet, and beg him to do his best to fill our pockets? There is no haste – when he is transmitting money next. I'd like him to make it a standing order in my case:- to allow no accumulation of funds. I can make a much better use of the money than can the Govt of India"; adding in a postscript that if they won't listen to his charming he is to let him know and "we'll send 'officials'", 2 pages, minor dust-staining and creasing at edges, 8vo, [Miranshah, Waziristan, North-West Frontier], 22 July 1928


  • "THE MORALS ARE OURS, OF COURSE": LAWRENCE OF ARABIA ON WESTERN INTERVENTION IN AFGHANISTAN. He ends this otherwise light-hearted letter by observing: "Miranshah is BUSY: a moral operation is being carried out in the hills to the S.W. The morals are ours, of course". He had arrived at Miranshah that May. This was an RAF outpost in Waziristan, only ten miles from the Afghan border and in an area of present-day Pakistan that is often described as the most dangerous on earth. Warfare soon broke out in neighbouring Afghanistan and the British press, discovering Lawrence's whereabouts, jumped to the conclusion that he was on a spying mission, orchestrating the very operations that he dismisses so sardonically in this letter. There were even question asked in the House, while anti-imperialists burnt him in effigy on Tower Hill (The Letters of T.E. Lawrence, 1988, edited by Malcolm Brown, pp.311-2). Rather than spying, he was in point of fact spending most of his time in the wireless-operator's hut with the 'W/T King' Corporal Easton, hard at work on his translation of the Odyssey: see the sale of Easton's papers in these rooms, 10 November 2009, lots 66 and 67. While Easton minded the wireless, it was Lawrence's job to act as typist, so the wilful behaviour of his typewriter so vividly evoked in this letter mattered a great deal; as he put it in a letter to Bernard Shaw three days earlier: "No, I am not adjutant, to this camp. Just typist, and i/c files, and duty rolls. I do what I am told to do, and rewrite the drafts given me...I'm not much good as a clerk; though I type a bit better than this, in the daylight". Our letter appears to be unpublished, not being included in the editions of Brown or Garnett, nor listed on the T.E. Lawrence Studies website (
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