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Telegram from Viscount Wavell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

New Delhi.—It is reported in the Indian press that Pethick-Lawrence is about to retire, to be replaced by Cripps. He trusts this is not true, as the appointment of Cripps would destroy any hope of securing the co-operation of the Muslim League. If Pethick-Lawrence is indeed retiring, he would prefer that Alexander should succeed him.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough

Gives an account of her husband’s last illness, and discusses the arrangements for the memorial service.

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Transcript

9th. October, 1961.

I am truly ashamed that I have not written before—yours was almost the first letter I had. I fear I was in something of a daze after the Cremation on the 15th and realised too late that you had started for Devonshire on the 18th.

We went away the week-end after Pethick last spoke in the House of Lords and that is when his illness commenced. I brought him back early to bed from which he never rose again. He knew almost at once that it was the beginning of the end and asked that I should tell no one—and being holiday period this was possible. After a while he followed you into the Manor House Hospital where Mr. Nicholson did all he could in skill and kindness, but it was soon apparent that the end was just a matter of time.

Now I am beginning to arrange a Memorial Service and I think it should obviously be at St. Margarets—so many of his friends are political. Lord Lucan is kindly helping me with it and will consult with the Whips Office on the Tory side.

Myself, I would like you and Kilmuir to speak. You are, I would think Pethick’s oldest friend and Leader of the Labour Peers too. We both like Kilmuir and he has been very good to me and I know thought a lot of Pethick.

Frank Pakenham suggested on the ’phone that an Opposition Peer would be all wrong.

To me, I would like the Service to be just a gathering of Pethick’s friends, regardless of political colour or special religious alliance.

It seems only one person usually speaks. Of course I am an outsider and unconventional. Then again, perhaps I should ask Lord Attlee an ex-P.M. but recently his enunciation is not so good.

So you see, frankly speaking, I think it is probably best to give up personal ideas and be guided by Lord Lucan. I hope to see him next week—then again there are not many free/suitable dates at St. Margarets—which makes it no easier.

This letter is meant to thank you and your wife most sincerely for your sympathy—but I fear it is all about my own problems.

I do trust you are now quite recovered and ready for the fray next Session.

The Rt. Hon. Viscount Alexander,
Well House Farm,
West Mersea,
Essex.

Letter from M. A. Jinnah to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill, Bombay.—The prospect of clearing up the breach of faith on the part of the English (i.e. the postponement of the formation of an interim government) is hampered by recent events of a much worse character. As for the apparent discourtesy shown to him by members of the Cabinet Mission in June, he considers the matter closed and would never, in any case, allow personal feelings to affect his handling of issues which affect millions of people.

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Transcript

Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill, Bombay
11th September ’46.

Dear Lord Pethick-Lawrence,

Thank you for your letter of August 16. I regret the delay as I was so rushed and pressed with other matters that I could not help putting off my reply to you.

As regards the first point—the breach of faith on your part, you say, that, perhaps some day we may be able to clear up. But since the 25th of June so many other things have taken place, which are of much worse character with far-reaching consequences and we have been stabbed in the back. However, as yours is only a purely personal letter and not a political one, I will confine myself entirely to the second point: that you never intended to show any discourtesy to me in the course of the interview at the Viceroy’s House on the late afternoon of June 25.

Believe me that although I had felt at the moment and was rather hurt at the behaviour of your colleagues and yourself, with perhaps one exception i.e. Mr. Alexander at the interview, but, a few days before his departure, when he came to see me and conveyed to me on behalf of your colleagues and yourself that they never intended to be discourteous to me, I asked him to convey to you and the others that as far as I was concerned the matter was closed and I expressed the hope that it would not affect us so far as our personal relations were concerned. I assure you that whatever may happen, or has happened, believe me, I shall never allow the element of personal rancour or bitterness to influence me in the slightest degree in handling the issues at stake in India which affect millions of people. I have never allowed any personal feelings to influence me in the past and I bear no ill-will towards anyone and entirely receiprocate† that our personal relationships would remain friendly.

Yours sincerely,
M. A. Jinnah

Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn,
LONDON W.C.2.

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At the head of the sheet is written in pencil, ‘These letters not to be published, by expressed wish of late Lord Pethick-Lawrence. | Esther E Knowles, 1st May 1962.’ Alongside is written, probably by Vera Brittain, ‘noted’.

{1} i.e. the formation of an interim government.

† Sic.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Baghdad and ‘On the plane’.—Describes the Cabinet mission’s stay at Tunis. Afterwards they flew to Baghdad, where they met the Iraqi Prime Minister and his Cabinet. They are now on the way to Karachi.

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Transcript

Bagdad†
Mch 23. 46

My dear.

I have enjoyed every minute of my time so far. I was warned tht the time in the areoplane† would be very tiring but I have not found it so at all. Quite the contrary it is has† been a delightful rest. We have flown for the most part at between 7000 & 10,000 feet. But it has been so clear tht I I have been able to see th sea on the ground underneath nearly all the way. Yesterday we passed over Haifa, Mt Carmel Nazareth & Galilee on our way here.

———————————————

on the plane

Tunis was a pleasant cool place & we had several walks along the sea. Our residence was about 10 miles out from the city. We came in one afternoon to visit the Arab quarter and saw a number of booths in some of which were fine display of carpets—one small one of Japanese silk was priced at £250 & was very delicate.

Wednesday night {1} we dined with the French Resident General {2} (at their house in Tunis) & I sat next to his wife, a most accomplished woman. She showed me her library of books artistically bound by her own hand. Her husband General Mast was a fine intellectual type. It was their summer residence in which we stayed.

We made an early start on Thursday {3}. We were called at 4.30 AM & pushed off from our house in the dark at 5.15. There was a slight delay at the Aerodrome but we took the air before the sun rose. We passed Pantelaria† on the left & Crete on the right & reached Cyprus at 12.15 (Tunis time) (1.15 Cyprus time). We came down there & had only 50 min to drive to the house of the Governor—a lovely spot—have lunch & drive back to the plane. We were soon up in the air again & over Palestine & along the pipe line towards the Tigris & Baghdad. It was only just light when we arrived at 6.30 (Baghdad time).

S.C. {4} & I stayed with the British Ambassador {5} who had invited all the Iraqui† Cabinet to meet us at dinner. I had a long talk with the Prime Minister {6} afterwards. The Ambassador’s wife found I liked the bananas & dates & said she would send a packet of the latter to you. If you get them you will no doubt write to thank for them to| Lady Bird | The British Embassy | Baghdad | Iraq.

There was some discussion about the suffragette movement & a soldier said his aunt had been one.

I had a very good night & after breakfast a banana, 2 oranges & an apple & toast, I walked round their fine garden on the banks of the Tigris & drove off to our plane and took the air at 9. We are now having lunch & are due at Karachi at 4.30 PM (6 PM Indian time).

{7} My darling

I have written the above in scrappy little bits for general consumption. This sheet is for my own dear love. I am afraid you wd be a long time without a letter from me. I wrote my letter in Tunis on my arrival but the quickest way to get it to you was to carry it on to Cyprus & despatch it from there. Tonight or tomorrow you will hear of our arrival in India. We are expecting to meet the press in Karachi on arrival & shall see them again at Delhi on Monday. We meet Alexander at Karachi & the Viceroy {8} in Delhi.

I do so hope you had a fruitful & enjoyable time with all your engagements in London & will enjoy your gardens in Peaslake next week. I send to you dear messages of love. I have great faith in my colleagues to reach a real solution of our problems, & your prayers & good wishes & those of our friends & the nation as a whole are a great support. Your token of love is safe in my waistcoat pocket {9}.

Blessed Sweetheart
I am your own boy lover.

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The letter contains a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 20 March.

{2} General Mast.

{3} A mistake for ‘Friday’.

{4} Stafford Cripps.

{5} Sir Hugh Stonehewer Bird.

{6} Tawfiq al-Suwaidi.

{7} A new sheet begins here.

{8} Lord Wavell.

{9} Before he left England Emmeline had given him a ‘little charm or keepsake’ to keep him company. See PETH 8/68.

† Sic.

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

Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The Cabinet mission are about to remove to Willingdon Crescent, where life will be less formal. They had a large press conference last night.

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Transcript

The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
Mch 25. 46

My dear.

I am now nearing the end of the second day here & tomorrow we are migrating to our private residence in Willingdon Crescent. Though everyone has been more than kind here I shall not be sorry to shake off the excessive formality & ceremony. At lunch & dinner there are as many servants in gorgeous red livery as there are diners. When the Viceroy & his wife walk into dinner his own sister & his daughter have to curtsey to them. There are some 250 gardeners in the garden, & the house is I think actually larger than Buckingham Palace. Of course my “bearer” will go on with me to the house. He is a very charming person & I submit gracefully to his ministrations which include putting on me nearly all my clothes but he does not insist on seeing me into bed at night!

I am exceedingly well & have recovered from the slight liver-sluggishness from having no exercise whatever during the last 2½ days of my flight.

One of the guests here is General Wauchope who was High Commissioner in Palestine & had us several times to dine with him when we were there. He asked specially after you whom he said he had so much enjoyed meeting, & wished me to remember him to you.

Enclosed is for Lydia.

If I am not able to write any more before the post goes I will just take this moment to send you my very dear love

Boy

I have already had two letters from EK {1}.

[Added later:]

I feel I have done much less than justice to the gorgeousness of the garden. Great shrubs of ? Petria {2} with blue flowers the colour of Ceanotus & nearly the shape of Wisteria, other shrubs of red Bougainvillée & trees with lovely coloured flowers, vast masses of stocks[,] roses etc.

Everything is on an immense scale. We had a press conference last night attended by some 200–250 press men & after reading a long agreed statemt, I had to answer some 50 questions. Everyone thinks it went very well & tht we did nt depart from a balanced presentation.

Alexander & Cripps are most delightful colleagues, and the V with his paucity of words is helpful & friendly.

I havent seen Agatha {3} yet but I think we shall have more opportunities for social intercourse when we move to our own abode. I suppose the temperature is between 80 & 90 but as it is very dry I have not experienced the slightest discomfort—only a pleasant pervading warmth.

I do so hope you are well & happy & have fairly decent weather.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} Esther Knowles.

{2} Probably Petrea volubilis, purple wreath.

{3} Agatha Harrison.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—They are busy with interviews. Yesterday’s visitors included the ruler of Bhopal, and they are meeting Azad, Gandhi, and Jinnah today and tomorrow. Is dining with Jinnah tonight. He and Alexander may fly to Agra on Sunday to see the Taj.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 3. 46

My dear.

We are in the thick of it. Yesterday we started interviews at 10 AM & finishing @ 5 went on to a social gathering of the Press (off the record) which lasted 1¾ hours of which for one hour I answered questions. This was followed by a dinner in our house for 3 prominent Moslem league supporters. The conversations lasted till 11.30 PM during which I had to break off to have ¾ hr talk with an emissary from Gandhi.

Today is not quite so busy, but I am to have Jinnah to dine tonight.

I am exceptionally well.

Among our visitors yesterday was the ruler of Bhopal {1}[,] who is the “Chancellor” of the Princes[,] who seemed to me a particularly efficient man. Today we are seeing Azad & Gandhi separately & tomorrow Jinnah.

Sunday {2} Alexander & I are thinking of flying over to Agra to see The Taj.

I have been so pleased to get your second letter written I think last Monday {3}. They take about a week to come. The other way viz the India Office takes about 4 days.

All my love to you & all
Boy

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{1} Nawab Sir Hamidullah Khan.

{2} 7 April.

{3} 25 March. The letter is not extant.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation (as 6/153).—They are interviewing many interesting people. He and Alexander hope to visit the Taj on Sunday, and the mission have now received the required formal invitation to go Kashmir at Easter.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 9 (To be Posted 10th)

Dearest One

It is a refreshment to sit down before dinner & commune with you after the heat of midday & the burden of the interviews & talks. And I have just had a letter from you dated April 5 from Fways saying you have had my letters of Mch 28 & 30. I have an earlier letter (April 3) from you also to acknowledge & an enclosure from Lydia for which please give her my love & thanks. You ask whether you shall address me to 2 Willingdon Crescent or wht; it doesnt matter at all. So long as the letter comes out in the official bag it will be delivered to me by Turnbull to wherever I am. Equally I presume when I write a letter to you & send it to the India Office tht they will send it to 11 O S or to Fourways according to wht E K tells them.

We are seeing a great many interesting people both formally & informally but it is sometimes rather drowsy work listening to their soft & droning voices. Sir C P Ramaswami Aiyar (who was in the cartoon I sent you yesterday “Sir C P”) was an exception with his vigorous & determined voice, & Joshi whom we saw this afternoon was most interesting. I am sending you the latest programme. You will see we are to meet 2 women on Thursday.

We shall very soon have to be thinking in earnest about our method of tackling the main problem or problems. But of course this has in a sense been going on all the time.

I had a swim in the swimming pool yesterday evening & again tonight. It is quite a large bath & it takes the heat out of one’s body. Alexander & I hope to go to see The Taj Sunday morning. The Cashmir trip at Easter awaits an invitation from the Ruler about which there appears to be some hitch. (now resolved 10. iv. 46)

I have had nice letters from Mrs Subbarayan & also from Mrs Hamid Ali whom I think you know.

I send you an early picture of me taken at Karachi which you may nt yet have seen.

I am most interested in your Fways news & your a/c of your amazing hot weather. I do hope there are no more frosts. Here it continues to get hotter & there is a haze about all the time which makes it somewhat humid. (102º yesterday 9th)

My dear I think of you with such love.

Your own
Boy

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

{1} PETH 6/151–2. Lady Pethick-Lawrence’s letter of 5 April does not survive.

{2} ‘April 3’ interlined. The brackets have been supplied. This letter does not survive.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reflects on the mission’s first fortnight, and sends greetings from friends. Alexander is better, but they have decided not to go to Agra. The mission still plan to go to Kashmir for Easter, but will not go to Simla.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 7. 46

My own Darling

Another Sunday has come round—a fortnight since we arrived. Light, heat[,] colour, experience, endeavour, endless patience, endurance & my family motto “per ardua stabilis”. My body is a perfect “brick”. It has neverd† wavered in its allegiance & has played the game magnificently. My spirit has not flagged. Your noble words written before I left {1}, to the effect that in a measure you & I had already escaped from the wheel of life & death have come to me from time to time. Your love token bearing witness to our relationship to the central life is with me. It is of course much too early even to begin to think of the time when I shall be coming back. There are many rivers still to cross, many adventures still to undertake, many problems still to face. But these are all part of the great enterprise on which I have set out & which God-willing I have to carry through to a successful issue.

Of one thing I am convinced—tht the fact of my coming @ 74 years of age has of itself had a considerable effect on Indian opinion. I send you a most friendly leading article; naturally they are not all like tht. One paper in paticular† is fond of writing the most disagreeable things. I call it “Albert’s arsenic[”]. (Albert Alexander is infuriated by it). Of course there are endless photo-graphs & cartoons. One of me as a cook is perhaps the best likeness. The other pictures I send are not of me at all but I have not cut them off as they illustrate the cartoonists art.

I went to the Quaker’s† service again today & met Mrs Pandit who sent greeting to you, Mrs Naidu & her daughter, Miss Shepherd, & a great many others including Mrs Brailsford who is coming with her husband to dine with us tonight {2}.

The temperature went up to 104º yesterday & is probably about the same today but my bed-room is “air conditioned” & comparatively cool. It is there tht I am now writing. I am very particular about wearing my topi whenever I go out, but medical opinion appears to have undergone a complete revolution since we were here 20 years ago. They now say tht if you wear dark glasses when you go out you need nt worry much about anything else. They may be right but I am not taking any chances.

Alexander is over his little indisposition but we abandoned our trip to Agra & the Taj in consequence of it. We are still planning to spend a few days in Cashmir for Easter but have abandoned any idea of going to Simla & personally so far as tht is concerned I had much rather stay here. For one thing I think we shall get on more expeditiously with our work, & if we can finish it in time to be back before th end of May you know what tht will mean to me.

Abundance of fruit for breakfast is a great joy. Today we had some strawberries.

Lydia’s watch stands me in good stead please give her my love. I hope sister May will enjoy her visit to some one[,] I forget whom. All my love to her.

Darling your very own
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} See PETH 8/68. The ‘love token’ mentioned shortly afterwards is evidently the ‘keepsake’ mentioned in Lady Pethick-Lawrence’s letter.

{2} Evamaria Brailsford's husband, H. N. Brailsford, had been sent to India by Reynolds’s News to observe the provincial elections. See F. M. Leventhal, The Last Dissenter (1985), p. 286.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Refers to his forthcoming visits to Kashmir and the Taj. The mission has gained much goodwill, but their visitors do not expect that it will be able to resolve the impasse between Congress and the Muslim League.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
Saty April 13. 46

My beloved.

I may as well confess tht what I would love most wd be to spend Easter with my darling at Fways. But since tht is out of the question a few days recess in Cashmir has its charms. So many people have chanted the praises of Cashmir tht I shall be most interested to see how far their eulogies are justified. Then there will be also the relaxation from the heat here. Latterly we have been rather mercifully treated in tht respect. After rising day by day to a maximum of 105º (in the shade of course) the dust & rain storms brought it down with a run to a maximum of 85º & of course a minimum much below tht at night—almost cold. Now I expect it will creep up again & the flowers will gradually wither away. But the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom with their gorgeous blue flowers.

Meanwhile the political scene continues to run its course. None of our visitors seem to expect tht we shall be able to resolve the Congress-Moslem League impasse; on the other hand the Mission itself seems to have been accepted as sincere & to have won a fair measure of goodwill. After we come back from Cashmir all this remains to be put to the test.

Alexander & I plan to go to Agra tomorrow, starting fairly early, to see the Taj. We propose to be back here for lunch. Our intention is to leave here for Cashmir on Friday next April 19 returning Wednesday morning April 24.

A great budget of letters has just arrived—two from you dated 7th & 9th, two from E K 8th & 9th, one fm Kathleen Wilkinson & one from Arthur Henderson. I have only had time to glance at them as I want this letter to go by the bag. But I shall have leisure to read them all with enjoyment this Saturday afternoon.

My fond love to my darling
Boy

We had a party for all the Congress Working Committee last night. They all came. Presently we are doing the same for the Moslem League.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 21 April.

Circular letter by Lord Pethick-Lawrence

New Delhi.—Gives an account of a morning excursion by plane to Agra.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

New Delhi.
April 14th 1946

It is just after midday Sunday and I am back and bathed and changed from a visit to Agra. I got up at 5.30.a.m. and after a walk in the garden left the house at 6.30. We reached the aerodrome at 6.45. and almost immediately took off. At 7.15. they gave us breakfast on the ’plane and at 7.40 we came down a couple of miles outside Agra.

We were met by one or two official people and drove straight to the Taj Mahal. We had already caught a sight of it from the ’plane. But from a height of two or three thousand feet, land objects are somewhat dwarfed. At the outer entrance the Agra archaeologist met us and took charge of us. We walked slowly through the archways and along by the water duct in the middle, stopping every now and again to get a new vista of the Taj itself. As we neared it the delicacy and beautiful colours of the inlaid texts from the Koran stood out in the burning sunlight against the dazzling white of the marble of the main structures. I think all the party that had come with us (and in addition to those who came in the ’plane some had come overnight in the train or by car—about 120 miles) were enchanted. I of course had seen it several times before, but its outstanding beauty is undimmed by repetition.

We walked up to the floor and inside and admired the carved lattice-work marble and the lovely inlays. Then we walked all round it and saw the Jumna river behind very low down in the absence of rain, and noted the play of sunlight on the main building and the four minarets. Then we walked slowly away back, turning every now and again to catch a final glimpse.

After a few minutes rest at the hotel we then drove to the Agra Fort with its many interesting Courts, almost reminiscent of a Cambridge Court, and halls and marble fret-work, its distant view of the Taj from the prison where Shab {1} Jehan is alleged to have been detained during the later years of his life.

And so back to the Agra aerodrome and once again in our Dakota ’plane to Delhi and then to our house soon after 11.30. What a wonderful morning! So much to have seen and done before many people are fully awake and bathed and dressed and breakfasted!

PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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Mechanical copy of a typed original.

{1} A typing error for ‘Shah’.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Has sent an account of his visit to Agra for distribution (see 6/159). Reflects on his colleagues’ personalities. The Cabinet mission must confront the ‘Communal problems’ when they return from Kashmir.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 14 46
(Not posted till 15th).

My very own darling.

Of course you have been specially in my thoughts today as I have been to Agra to see the Taj. I dont propose to say anything about that in this letter as I have written a short a/c to E K for her to copy & to send to you & various people {1}. As it will arrive during Easter I am afraid there will be a little delay before you get it but that doesnt matter does it. But you are constantly in my thoughts & I yearn to see you & be with you again. But I have just to be patient. The Taj was just radiant as ever & unsurpassable. Nearly 20 years since you & I saw it together {2}.

I rejoice greatly in all the lovely spring you are having. I have had leisure to read your recent letters several times & to enjoy them. They keep me well posted up in your doings & friends & thoughts.

All my colleagues are delightful & interesting & so different. Cripps the brilliant rapier witted improviser with strong left tendencies, vegetarian, teetotaler. Alexander the Britisher who likes to breakfast in bed & get up at 8 or 8.30, wants cheddar cheese & English food, & is so proud of the British navy, is going to read the lessons tonight at the English nonconformist church here. The Viceroy the soldier sparing of speech, suspicious of new fangled ideas & I imagine of all foreign ways of thought & action, straight forward, blunt but with his own sense of humour. And P-L wht of him? Well, not so resourceful as Cripps, not so downright as the V[,] nt so British as Alexander. Perhaps more judicial than any of them. Weighs up all the pros & cons. Hears all tht is said on both sides. Sums up & expresses the general opinion. Perhaps more than any of the others I have convinced the Indians of our sincerity. But sincerity alone won’t solve the Communal problems, & when we come back from Cashmir we have got to face it in earnest unless a miracle happens & the Indians solve it themselves.

The weather is really quite nice here in Delhi (unusually mild for the time of year we are told). It was hotter in Agra. I am very well. No mosquitoes & very few flies. Lizards frogs & mice in the house—none of which I think the “First Lord” (Alexander) really likes. I have bought exactly the right clothes.

Four times in my life I have had someone to go before me to prepare my bath—when I was a baby, when I was in prison, when I broke my ribs, & now when I am in India. I suppose it will happen again when I am very old! An odd thing is life!

I kiss my beloved, & send my love to all our circle

Boy.

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

{1} See PETH 6/159.

{2} The Pethick-Lawrences first visited the Taj Mahal together in December 1926 and they returned there at the beginning of the following month. See PETH 6/130 and 6/132.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Guest House No. 2, Srinagar, Kashmir.—Gives an account of the Cabinet mission’s visit to Kashmir.

Delhi.—Has now (24th) returned to Delhi.

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Transcript

Guest House No 2, {1}
Srinagar, Kashmir

April 19. 46

My dear.

What a strange unreal world I am living in! I came over the mountains this morning. Great snowy peaks at a height of 12000 to 15000 ft with some running up to over 20000. Then down into this sunny plain—the vale of Kashmir—some 5000 above sea level. We were met by the Prime Minister & the Resident {2} & brought away here. All the streets were lined with people to see us pass. Neither welcome nor hostility from the crowds—just curiosity. This place has an English climate. The almond blossom just over, the hawthorn (not really hawthorn but a kind of spirea) & the fruit blossom in flower. It is very lovely. Maud Coote (Foulds) is coming to see me on Sunday {3}. I am warned tht she is very odd. I am not surprised. I will tell you about wht I make of her after she has come & gone.

I had another interview with Gandhi last evening. He is very friendly personally—so are they all which is a most important & valuable thing. But what help or hindrance we shall get from any of them when we really bend ourselves to trying to solve the riddle of the Sphinx remains to be seen.

Sunday morning. Yesterday we drove 60 miles up the valley & up a mountain stream to a little island on to which we crossed on foot. We walked up to a little shrine & from there only 200 or 300 further up was snow in a ravine. The sun was very hot & I did not go on. I thought at 7000 ft up it was probably wiser not to do too much. We picnicked out with food brought from here & later I walked round the island & after the others had had tea we drove home. Cripps did not come with us as he went fishing with Turnbull & Fraser. They caught a large number of very large trout which they have since distributed among various houses round here.

It started raining yesterday evening & is raining fast now. But it was fine for me to have a morning walk before breakfast. I climbed half way up to a monastery on the top of a hill just opposite this guest-house. Presently I am going to church & am to read the lesson—from “Revelation”. I have conned it though so as not to stumble. I belive† the Maharajah is coming to lunch with us. His own house is being repaired & he lives in a small villa. Later Maud Coote is coming to see me, & later if the rain leaves off, which seems unlikely, we are to go on the lake. There are hundreds of houseboats on the river & lake in which many people (retired Europeans & Indians) live all the year round.

On the day of our arrival (Friday) we had a short drive to two fascinating public gardens. The feature of each of them was a stream running down in cascades all the way. One of them had 12 terraces & a cascade above each.

Later. It rained all the morning, I drove to Church. The Canon preached a sermon all about the resurrection of the Spring & the coming of the flowers. The Church Yard instead of being a cemetery is a very beatiful† flower garden—pansies, tulips, cowslips, primroses, nermophilas, aubrecchia, & hundreds of others & a lovely little Japanese Maple & a Judas tree.

The Maharaja {4} came to lunch. He & Sir Stafford Cripps talked fishing for about 1½ hours. I am going to see him tomorrow morning to talk politics. He has planned out a trip on the river for tomorrow afternoon & a journey up a valley for Tuesday to see wild bears.

Maud Coote came at 2.15. She struck me as very sane & most interesting. She gave me a book of her poems some of which I have read since she has gone & I liked v. much. She herself is of course much older & plumper though she eats very little. She sent her love to you & said she would pray Ramakrishna for the Cabinet Mission.

After tht I went for a walk along the bank of the river & seen† the many houseboats & the back of the shops including Maud’s “Kig Products”.

Tuesday evening. Monday we had a lovely paddle on the lake. 5 men paddled in each boat of which there were three. (I had of course to be a passenger). Later I drove with the Maharajah about 20 miles up a valley & saw a wild boar but no bears. We visited his trout hatchery & saw some enormous trout 10 & 12 & 14 lbs. We had lunch & tea there. I have also played billiards & snooker with Alexander & gave him a considerable handicap & beat him in all but one game. We start for Delhi tomorrow at 7 AM weather permitting. I shall post this from there. I am very well. I love you very much.

Just your own
Boy

This is a very inadequate description of a very lovely place & a charming holiday.

[Added at the head of the letter:]

April 24 Back in Delhi

3 letters from E K & 2 from you dated April 14 & 16. I look forward to reading them but do not want to delay sending this off.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} This line of the address is handwritten.

{2} Ram Chandra Kak and W. F. Webb.

{3} 21 April, Easter Day.

{4} Sir Hari Singh.

† Sic.

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 Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Sends a loving greeting for the 26th. Reports briefly on the mission and the political situation. He has ordered an aeroplane for 10 June, but may not be able to leave then.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 26. 46

Oh My Dear.

May 26 Sunday. Our May 26. I love you. You are my very darling. You are I am sure thinking of me as I am of you.

Our political barometer continues to go up & down. At the present moment after a severe depression it has appreciably risen.

Cripps is in hospital but is improving & hopes to be out in a few days & back at work a few days later. Alexander has gone off to the South on an Admiralty mission {1}. Jinnah is still at Simla & his Muslim League doesnt meet till June 3. The Congress have adjourned & departed.

So I & the Viceroy are left alone. I think there will be plenty to do & time to get some rest. I played Alexander at billiards last night[,] gave him 100 in 250 & beat him by 24.

I have told them to have an aeroplane standing by by June 10 but I am afraid tht† doesnt mean I shall get off by then. Still the time is coming when I shall have to say to the parties not “tht my patience is exhausted” but “time Gentlemen please”. It may be the only way to get them to decide anything. See the amusing extract from a pro-Congres† paper. And perhaps I shall add “We are going now forward with summoning the Constituent Assembly” & see what happens.

Darling once more
All my love
Boy

Please go on writing to me until I definitely start for home.

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{1} He had gone to Ceylon to inspect the fleet. See Transfer of Power, vol. vii, no. 386.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—(30th.) Is conscious of his need for perseverance and patience. Affairs may reach a climax during the weekend of 8–11 June.—(31st.) Has had a delightful talk with Sudhir Ghosh.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 30–31

My dear.

Your spiritual support means a great deal to me in these days when I have to call on all my spiritual reserves in order “neither to fail nor falter nor repent” {1}. I find it is not enough to have patience, I have also to have ungrudging goodwill to those who try my patience & at the back of all to retain tht reliance on the wise purpose of the Designer of all things. And so I pray tht courage, endurance & wisdom may continue to be vouchsafed to me, & tht all my works may be “begun continued & ended in Him” {2}.
I miss the counsel of Stafford Cripps terribly but he is now out of hospital & in a day or two I may be able to trouble him with some of the conundrums which confront me morning noon & night. For though I have faith in the Divine purpose & cling to it I never lose sight of the adage “God helps those who help themselves”.

It looks as if we might reach a climax in our affairs over the week-end June 8–11 but it may well be tht it is postponed. We have to get agreement on lots of things & a failure to get it on any once of them may mean a break down & a break up with consequences which humanly speaking are pretty serious. The hope is tht common sense may assert itself at alst, & I have by no means abandoned it.

The weather is rather trying, {3} with maxima between 100º & 108º & minima between 80º & 85º. Fortunately we have plenty of fruit & vegetables. I continue to sleep nearly the whole night through.

Albert Alexander is due back from his jaunt to Ceylon, tomorrow.

Friday. After writing the above I had a swim & went home. After a talk with Stafford who is much better Sudhir Ghosh came to see [me]—a young man of 29 who acts as “Mercury” to Gandhi. This time he did not bring me any message from G as he has himself been in hospital & Gandhi is away. But we had a delightful talk. I have seen him many times before & am very fond of him. I hope he will be one of India’s leading statesmen in years to come. He gave me great cheer & hope, and this morning I am feeling in very good spirits.

Ever your own loving Boy.

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The abbreviation ‘tht’ for ‘that’ occurs a few times.

{1} A slight misquotation from Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Act IV. The original line has ‘change’ in place of ‘fail’.

{2} The words ‘begun, continued, and ended in thee’ occur in the prayer beginning ‘Go before us, O Lord, in all our doings’ in the Book of Common Prayer, which is one of the prayers said at the beginning of each day in the House of Commons.

{3} Comma substituted for a full stop.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Discusses her arrangements in connection with his return home. ‘A stupid little mistake of ours is causing us endless trouble and may even wreck the whole scheme.’

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 15. 46.

My dear.

I have just had two delightful & interesting letters from you written on June 7 & 12 {1}. Is it nt wonderful how quickly they come?

Of course I shall look forward intensely to your meeting me on arrival in London. When tht will be I still do nt at all know.

When I got your letter yesterday & wrote off to you in a hurry I had got the impression you meant to put off your trip to I W without waiting to learn my dates. But I gather from yours of 12th tht you have now got my explanatory letter & use your judgment with regard to I W along the lines I suggested. Of course I am quite confident you will make a wise decision & am only sorry my plans may make a change in yours necessary.

At the moment it seems scarcely likely tht I shall be home much if at all before the end of June, but I live in hope.

A stupid little mistake of ours in causing us endless trouble & may even wreck the whole scheme. You know how particularly annoying such things are. But even tht hasn’t got me down, & really when you come to think of it it is really rather wonderful tht we havent made more mis-takes, isn’t it?

The enclosed cartoon will amuse you. Show it to others. {2}

My dear I love you so very much.

Boy.

I am hoping to play billiards tonight with Alexander.

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This letter includes the abbreviated forms ‘tht’ for ‘that’ and ‘nt’ for ‘not’.
{1} PETH 8/78 and 8/81.
{2} Followed by ‘I am sending a duplicate to Esther.’, struck through.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The mission’s statement has been published. Discusses the likely date of his return home. Has discussed his theory of the equilibrium of good and evil with an Indian Christian.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 17. 46

Dearest

With publication of our statement of yesterday the political barometer has risen somewhat but at any moment may go down again.

If, mirabile dictu, we were to get unqualified agreement by both parties we might be wending our way home by the time this letter reaches you & if so you will have been already told by the I B O. If you have not so heard you must take it either tht they are still haggling about it or tht one or other of the parties has turned either the long term or the short term scheme definitely down.

I hope tht in any case we may not have to stay here many days longer. But if necessary we may have to do so.

Poor Albert (Alexander), who incidentally has been slightly indisposed, especially wanted to be back on 23rd but his chance of doing so seems rather slender at the moment if he is to stay here to see the job through.
It is getting damp & sticky & the monsoon may break before we leave. The swimming pool is full of hot water & it is not easy to swim in it.

I went for a walk with Amrit Kaur this morning before breakfast. She talked shop most of the time but said at the end tht she didn’t see why I should not be able to get off home quite soon—which seemed to me encouraging both on public & private grounds.

I was pleased to know tht you seem to have entered on a period of better weather.

I met an Indian yesterday & talked to him about my idea of the equilibrium of good & evil. He said he had not heard it put like tht before. But he said he was a Christian. {1}

Dear love & kisses to my darling
Boy.

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The abbreviation ‘tht’ for ‘that’ occurs a few times.

{1} This paragraph is written in the left-hand margin; the succeeding words are in the right. It is unclear which was written first.