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Pethick, Ethel Mary (1869–1948), suffragette Image With digital objects
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Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Résidence Générale de la République Française, Tunis.—Describes the Cabinet mission’s flight to Tunis and their accommodation there.

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*Transcript**

Résidence Générale de la République Française à Tunis
Tunis, le
20 March.

My own dear Love.

A gorgeous Bougainvillée tree in full bloom greeted me when I arrived in the upper courtyard of this house last night. It recalled many happy memories of travels you & I have had together about this time of year.

I have read your very dear letter {1} & shall be able to think of your movements day by day & send my thoughts to you & to all the friends tht† are coming to see you. Please give my love to one & all.

EMP & the girls {2} will have told you about our motor ride & about Hurn {3}. I think they went into the aeroplane & saw our comfortable quarters. We were finally in the air a little before noon & in half an hour were over the Cherbourg peninsular. Signs of devastation were just visible at a height of 7000 feet. At one o’clock a white table cloth was laid & soup & sandwiches appeared. I thought this was lunch & partook only to be told that lunch was served at 2! However it did me no harm.

2.30 we were over the French mountains & a thick coat of snow was visible. At 3.30 we saw the mouth of the Rhone & about 4.15 the coast of Sardinia. At 5 o’c we landed (most gently) on the airfield at Tunis & drove out here. The sun was setting & local time registered an hour later. The British Consul met us & escorted us here—a very fine villa reminiscent of Mena House {4}. It is only moderately warm. The others are going to have a leisurely walk, & a drive into Tunis this afternoon. We dine tonight with the French resident & are off on Friday morning before dawn.

We had a steak last night such as I have not seen since 1939 & tangerine oranges.

The others are waiting for me

Yours ever
Boy

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{1} PETH 8/68, dated 18 March.

{2} i.e. Ethel Mary Pethick, Emmeline’s sister, and the Pethick-Lawrences’ secretaries, Esther E. Knowles and Gladys E. Groom.

{3} Hurn aerodrome, near Bournemouth.

{4} The Mena House Hotel, by the Pyramids at Giza.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The Cabinet mission were met at Delhi by the Viceroy, whose bereavement has visibly affected him. At Karachi they met the Governor of Sind, and Alexander joined the mission. Reflects on their busy programme.

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Transcript

The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
Mch 24. 46

My dear

I have just arrived, after a perfect journey. It is an entirely novel experience for me to be a “great” personage & to be received everywhere with the state befitting my position. But it doesnt embarrass me any more than it would to peel potatoes with a cottager’s wife.

Though it is midday it is surprisingly cool just like a delightful June day in England & there is a bowl of roses on a side table.

The Viceroy met us at the aerodrome & took me with him here, the other ministers following in other cars. His bereavemt has visibly affected him {1}. He looks haggard & weary.

We spent a very pleasant evening with the Governor of Sind {2} on our arrival at Karachi yesterday. Albert Alexander came a little later & has come on with us in our plane this morning.

We have a very full programme of work in front of us & an immense number of people to see during the next fortnight.

I am to be fetched by an A D C & taken to lunch in a few minutes. So I will finish this letter now with all my love to my darling

Your own
Boy

This letter may reach you before th 2 I wrote at Tunis & one posted at Karachi {3}.

Love to May Lydia & the girls.

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The letter contains a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘th’ for ‘the’.

{1} Lord Wavell’s son-in-law, Major the Hon. Simon N. Astley, had died at Quetta on 16 March following a motor accident (L. G. Pine, New Extinct Peerage).

{2} Sir Francis Mudie.

{3} PETH 6/146–8.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—(17th.) Reflects on the difficult month to come. Meliscent Shephard sends her love.—(18th.) Harold Large has appointed him one of his literary executors. Some changes in the Budget will affect them personally.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 17—1946

My dear.

When I start off on my journey to Kashmir on Friday morning it will be just a month since I started off on my journey to London. Just as I began then with a short holiday in a new place so I am beginning again. Just as I then saw in front of me a hot & difficult month so now I see a still hotter & still more difficult task in the time ahead. I cannot in the least tell wht the future has in store for me; Sir Stafford Cripps says he feels assured tht somehow the hour is striking when India is to attain her new freedom. I have kissed the little love token tht you gave me before I went away & have commended myself to God for Him to fit my little piece of Himself into his great plan as he thinks best. I am exceedingly well in health.

I saw Miss Melicent Shepherd a few days ago & had a very pleasant talk to her. She asked me to remember her to you & sent you her love. She says she is Cornish & her name is really the same as the French “Melisande”. I shall keep this letter open until tomorrow as it will probably be about a week after you receive this before you receive another from me. I do hope you will have a lovely Easter time.

Thursday. I dined with Auckinleck† last night & a number of generals. One of them said he knew Harold Large {2} & had heard from him saying tht he & I were to be H L’s literary executors when he passed on.

All my love to my own blessed darling.

Ever your very own
Boy

You will note several changes in the budget which affect us. You & I & E M P are all entitled to cash part of post-war credits. Changes in Estate Duty are nil on your Estate.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘wht’ for ‘what’.

{1} i.e. Tunis.

{2} Not identified.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceregal Lodge, Simla.—Describes his journey to Simla and the situation of the Lodge. Jinnah will not arrive till Saturday, so talks will not begin till Sunday. Sends his love for their anniversary of 12 May. Four of his colleagues have just celebrated birthdays.

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Transcript

Viceregal Lodge, Simla
May 1, 46.

My dear.

This is certainly a most wonderful place and I am glad I have not missed seeing it. This particular house is perched upon a hill in Simla (which is, by the way, all hills) & there is a panoramic view all round. But while at Fways the view extends for 2 or 3 miles, here it is 50, 100, & in some directions I should think 150 miles. There are snow mountains dividing us from Kashmir & snow mountains dividing us from Tibet. We are about 7000 feet up.

I dined with Jinnah last night & met his sister who is very like him—they both look very tall but tht is because they are thin with aquiline faces. In reality they are only 5’9” & 5’ 4”. Jinnah says he cant get here till Saturday & we shant begin our talks till Sunday, so we shall nt have very much to do the next 3 days.

We got up @ 5.30 this morning, breakfasted 6.15, started 7, left aerodrome at 7.30[,] reached Amballa at 8.30 & then came up here 94 miles in motor cars, the last 55 miles being a steady climb. Most of the cars broke down on the way. I came with the Viceroy. I smelt something like a leather clutch burning some time before we pulled up. The sun is quite hot up here but the air is cool & refreshing. There is a billiard table in the house & a putting golf course in the garden.

The house itself is much less grandiose than the one at Delhi; all the same I have a very large sitting room & another large bedroom & 2 verandahs with glorious views.

I dont know how long this letter will take to reach you but I expect is wont go off till tomorrow & then it will take a day to Delhi, so tht you wont get it much before our May 12. In spite of all the beauty here I do wish I was with you for our festival. You will have to have the salmon & the gooseberry tart with friends & waft a greeting to me as I shall to you my beloved. 45 years ago since the original May 12, & I love my darling more deeply than ever. Kiss all the flowers for me at Fourways. Give my love to May & Lydia & to the girls in London & to the folk at Peaslake.

Last Wednesday was Stafford Cripps birthday, yesterday was Turnbulls, & today Alexanders[,] & Sunday is the Viceroys {1}. But I am sticking to soft drinks which suit me better. I am still exceptionally well though I dont xpect to sleep as well at this height as I have done in Delhi. You know neither of us ever did when we were in Switzerland.

The political situation here moves slowly forward to a climax which I cant predict. I am afraid the Palestine Report will greatly upset the Moslems.

All my love
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘nt’ for ‘not’ and ‘xpect’ for ‘expect’.

{1} ‘& Sunday is the Viceroys’ was inserted slightly later.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

Weston-S-Mare
Dec. 3. 1924

Dearest.

So many thanks for your letter, and also for letting me see Mark’s {1} beautiful letter to you. Every word of it is intelligible & illuminated to me, because Mark & I have been going through the same country & have been learning a new language—and you are one of those who can be utterly trusted. We need not fear that unawakenedness that unconsciously turns & rends the giver of divine things.

In fact, dearest, you are shining and our eyes are opened. You have no idea how much I have been learning lately, of myself, of you & others, & of you especially. I know now that your great redeeming Love to me has been my defence & safety which I have been living in this life of time & space. You said to me once—“I have fought for you”, and I realize now how tremen-dously true it is. You have been the Divine Saviour of my soul & mind in this life. And now I love you because you first loved me. All this goes on in the world beneath the world of appear-ances & daily life which we live so happily together. When our eyes are open, we can enter heaven while in the body as Blake did. But this can only be by continual forgiveness of sins—that is to say that a river of water must wash the shore of every moment’s life, washing out all sins (i.e. separations) as they arise—our own & those of our dear ones—which are the only sins that really matter as far as we are concerned!—Heaven is moment to moment forgiving one another our sins—or at least that is an essential condition of our life there.—Well darling—that is only a language—a new language that both Mark & I have been learning. It is not any new truth, & it is nothing that you do not already know & beautifully express in your own language & in your daily attitude to life.

I have had a perfect time here—enjoying every moment. The weather is lovely. We went for a most beautiful motor ride yesterday morning—then I went up to tea with Mother, while May kept an appointment, & we all had supper at St Huberts, & a more delightful family party I have never had. Nance said Angels were in the room, & so indeed it seemed. We were all very merry.

I arrive tomorrow at Paddington 2.15. So glad Campbells are coming on Thursday night. We will have a very nice party. Great love old darling & love from all.

Your own Patz

I have just read Mark’s letter again. It is a perfectly wonderful letter. Please keep it or give it to me to keep. Such letters if eventually published, would bring untold emancipation to many struggling in the toils of self-righteousness.

{1} Mark (‘Max’) Plowman?

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

March 18. 1946
11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2

My own Beloved.

You are packing, & I have come into my room to rest and not hamper you. For many days I have had no thought, no life (except on the surface) apart from you & your great mission {1}. I have not put what I feel into words, because the high adventure, upon which you are starting out, is too important to allow any place for personal consideration, but you will know how my love & my thought & my prayer will be with you every hour of the day. That is what was expressed in the little charm or keepsake I have given to bear you company. I have very deep roots in you as you have in me. We share our deepest attitude to life & being. To some extent at any rate, like the Buddhas in Tibet, we have found our being outside the wheel of Birth & Death. Outside or inside, we know that we are part of the Cosmic whole, and to the extent of our realization, are beyond anxiety or fear. If not only we two, but all three involved in the great enterprise of reconciliation can live, even if only for a few minutes every day, in this consciousness, the “Miracle” may happen. I have always felt that the marvelous† outpouring of what we call the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was due (in part at any rate,) to the sudden consciousness of oneness generated by the vigil together, and to the realization of what St. Paul in his great chapter in Corinthians {2}, calls “Charity”—Understanding—Fellowship—oneness—so that all spoke in language understood of every tribe & nation.

I rejoice greatly in the letter signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury & others. It is what I have wanted & wished for, but did not expect. I believe it will deeply impress many Indian leaders, whether they admit it or not. At any rate you & your colleagues are going with the ardent goodwill of the whole of the country. This realization will bear you up as on eagles wings {3}.

When I leave the Drome {4} & return here, I expect a visit from Miss Mulock (“Baby”) {5} and on Wednesday {6} Naomi is coming to see me. On Thursday unless we are lucky enough to get theatre ticke[t]s for a Ruth Draper Impersonations†—I shall go to see Mai Mai. On Friday we shall all return to Fourways. And I hope & intend to spend the whole of the next week organizing the garden. On Monday April 1st I have seats for May & myself at an Indian Ballet, Sakuntala[.] On April 2nd the Sculptor Huxley Jones & his wife are coming to tea. They are from Aberdeen & are bringing to London his clay figure that impressed us all in Edinburgh, “the Common Soldier”, hoping it will be accepted for the Royal Academy Show.

During the week at Fourways, I hope to take Grant Watson in the car to call on the Robert Trevelyans. And all the time until next Saturday, one part of me will be flying flying—or sharing your experience in Tunis or elsewhere. And a part of you will be with me, because there will not be the urgent call on your attention which will follow, after next Sunday. May we celebrate our May 26th in thankfulness & joy together, looking back to that memorable day 45 years ago. With my hearts love & blessing

Your own.

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{1} The Cabinet Mission to India.

{2} 1 Corinthians xiii.

{3} Cf. Isaiah xl. 31.

{4} Hurn aerodrome.

{5} Possibly Emily Maud Mulock. Cf. PETH 4/161.

{6} 20th.

† Sic.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

Fourways. May 14./46

Dearest of All?

Another most interesting letter from you dated May 5 {1}. In a day or two we expect to hear definite tidings of the present situation—the deadlock for the present in Simla, and a forecast concerning future plans. In the meantime we possess our souls in patience. As I told you in advance, Christopher {2} spent the first of the May Festivals {3} with me. It was a perfectly heavenly day, the peak of the early summer which I look for about the 18th or 20th of the month, but which this year came a week earlier. Lydia & I met Chris at Guildford at noon. May was away for the weekend[.] We had a delicious little Feast, a chicken with breadsauce that would have delighted your taste, & asparagus followed by a perfect gooseberry tart with cream. The gooseberries are quite large—we shall have to relieve the bushes of them, & start bottling in a few days. We drank to you with sherry! After lunch we opened the West Verandah wide & sat in the sun. Chris was in a very happy mood, all smiles & laughter—very sunburnt & rejoicing in a lazy time. (He is working single handed on his Farm. Cannot get Labour, or accommodation for Labour.) But for a few hours he reverted to his real “Diogenes” self. I was that way myself when young—& knew what it was to desire nothing but sun & solitude! For that afternoon Chris was like the Baby in his Pram, that only wanted to be “a buttercup in Auntie Emmeline’s garden”[.] After tea we took him back to Guildford to catch an early train to Petersfield to feed his animals, and on the way home, we called to see the ecstatic little family of 3 Wilkinsons & one pretty little Nurse, & were in time to see the Infant in his Bath beholding all the wonders in company with his adoring parents! The Child is in splendid condition—sunbrowned all over & full of joy & vitality. He is much improved in looks. They have some really lovely photographs of him—one in particular, a perfect picture.

We came home for supper, & I fell into a very sentimental mood & should have written to you that evening but for the fact that I had sent you a long letter {4} by the mornings post.

But Sunday evening was the climax. On Monday the North East wind began to blow, & today the world Clad† in full summer vegetation strives under a blast that is far from kind.

Dorothy Plowman came to lunch today, on her way back from visiting her Mother at Worthing. She is full of life & interest & is preparing new volumes of Mark’s poetry & essays. She has a very keen publisher in Daker, & the Letters have been well received {5}. On June 6th I have been asked to speak about him with Middleton Murray† {6}. Dorothy was greatly interested to hear all about you & specially sent you her love. Piers is engaged in extremely interesting work, connected with Theatre. I have joined the Guildford Repertory Theatre Club & had taken tickets for a Shaw Matinée this afternoon, but of course I ’phoned the Director that I could not come (in case anyone else could use my tickets.)

I had a most interesting letter from Madeleine Doty this morning. She has actually pulled off her plan, & has 45 College Students for Geneva coming on Sept 1st. Will she I wonder get the L. N[.] Buildings & create an International University!! I shouldn’t wonder!

May 15—I received 2 letters from you this morning—May 8 & May 10 {7}—and am thrilled to know that we may have you with us again by May 26. Of course one cannot count on anything. I shall await with eagerness the promised announcement from the P. M. in the H. of C. tomorrow. All the snapshots in the Press are excellent. Joan Coxeter called to see me last evening, looking radiant & lovely. I read the descriptive parts of your letter {8} from Kashmir & Simla. She was thrilled & sent you her very special love. May arrived this morning after a week in London. She has at last had a surgical belt fitted, & is more comfortable than she has lately been. We all send our love. And this one sends her heart & all.

Your own.

It strikes me that you will have to keep all my letters in a big envelope (as I keep yours) to read as light literature in the plane on the way home!

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{1} PETH 6/166.

{2} Christopher Budgett, her nephew. His farm, mentioned later on, was Lords Farm, Sheet, near Petersfield.

{3} 12th.

{4} Not extant.

{5} Andrew Dakers Ltd had issued Dorothy Plowman’s edition of her husband’s letters in 1944, under the title Bridge into the Future.

{6} Middleton Murry’s book Adam and Eve: An Essay towards a New and Better Society had been published by Andrew Dakers Ltd. in 1944.

{7} PETH 6/167 and 6/168.

{8} Possibly a slip for ‘letters’.

† Sic.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

June 3. 1946 {1}

My Dearest,

Do not let the delay in your return, give you any idea that you are missing the English summer. May 12 was the last summer day we have had. April was like June. The last 3 weeks have been March, & still, day after day we have gales of wind & storms of rain—sometimes sleet & hail. I read in the Paper today that in June the barometer has been lower than any day since Christmas. Not that we have had much frost. We have a good crop of soft fruit & apples, though no pears or plums. The violent wind tosses the trees & plants, like a storm tosses the waves on the ocean, while the clouds darken the sky. I hope it will be better weather for the Victory Parade {2}. No doubt interest & enthusiasm will work up during the next 5 days, but so far I find no sentiment expressed except disillusion. Even leading articles & Churchill’s speech have to recognize & attempt to deal with public apathy. Guildford & other towns too have refused to co-operate. The public feel that it is an exhibition of futility & waste. London has been much disfigured & spoilt for Londoners. It is not a happy time, & the real tragedy is brought home to people like G. G. {3} who could get no bread on Saturday, because she was too late in going out for it, & no milk because of the strike.

I have had a cable from Madeleine that she is scheduled to arrive in Southampton Dock next Wednesday, June 6th. She will take the train from Southampton to Woking, & on to Guildford where I shall meet her with the car. She has a transitional visa, & can only remain a short time. Probably she will stay at Fourways over Whit Monday, & we shall all go to London on June 11 & 12. I have avoided London for some weeks. There is much to do & see to here. I am giving much attention to the garden, and the little staff here needs a good deal of handling.

I have had very few official invitations during your absence[.] But I had one to meet F. M. Smuts {4}, and as I could not go, I wrote to salute him, and have had a charming personal reply in his own hand writing. I received a letter from Mrs Price Hughes yesterday, to tell me that she is constantly with us both in her thoughts. She is 93, & her writing is as good as ever. We had a very pleasant visit from Stuart & Ruth, though it rained hard all the time. There are 5 of your wild roses out today. I wish I could send you one. Farewell my darling. Keep well & serene, & enjoy the present moment. All here are well. May has arranged to spend a week with Dorothy to make room for Madeleine, should you have been able to get back. You remember we have booked rooms in Ventnor from June 24—July 8. May will stay with Tom & there will be a room for you at the week end or whenever you want it at my Guest House or at the Hotel near Trewartha. If the soft fruit ripens just then, Lydia will want to overlook the bottling, although she can show Violet & leave it to her after one or two experiments.

No food of any kind must be wasted.

And so again God be with thee.

Your own.
Patz

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{1} The address printed on the writing-paper is 11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2, but the letter was clearly written at Fourways.

{2} The national Victory Parade, to be held on 8 June.

{3} Probably Gladys Groom.

{4} i.e. Field Marshal Smuts.