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Pethick-Lawrence Papers Lawrence, Emmeline Pethick- (1867–1954), suffragette, wife of the 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence Imagen Con objetos digitales
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Letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Labour Record and Review’, 19 St Bride Street, London, E.C.—Was sorry to leave her this morning with so many worries. Has spoken with Roscoe, the lawyer, and is about to see Joseph Edwards of the Reformer’s Year Book. Draws her attention to an article in the Independent Review.

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

‘The Echo’ Office, 19 St Bride Street, Fleet Street, E.C.—Is sorry he can’t be with her this afternoon, but he will be especially nice to ‘the two dear kiddies’ at the weekend. His evening (at Trinity) went well, and the Master said that the ‘dear boy’ (Frank Pethick) was much loved.

(Cf. 6/64–5 and 6/71.)

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

[Folkestone.]—Expresses his love for her, after a day of restful pleasure.

[In the train from Folkestone to Dover.] The weather prevented them from walking to to St Margaret’s Bay, so they walked to Dover instead. ‘We have been wonderfully good in keeping off the suffrage, but I made a few plans this morning.’

(Letter-head of 87 Clement’s Inn, W.C.)

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

Brixton Prison.—Was glad to hear how she is. Refers to his own situation and activities. Supports her idea of conducting her own defence, and agrees that she should consult Lutyens about the rose garden.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
8th March 1912

Dearest

I was glad to have your letter telling me how you were getting on. I was sorry to hear that you were all alone but at least you have the dear Sun for company. Our cell numbers as you see are not very different & our direction must be the same for the moon also came in at my window on Thursday morning {1}, but whether it came in this morning or not I do not know—for I was asleep. As you prophesied the second night was a very good one—& the old complaint has disappeared.

I went to chapel for the first time this morning & found it very stimulating; what a wonderful feeling of comradeship one has “with all the other sinners”. I do not think that if the carrot of the story were held out to us we should want to shake them loose like the old woman did in the fable.

I do not see any reason why you should not conduct your own defence, there are certain things which you can say far better than anyone else. This applies to the trial, assuming we are committed, and probably not to the police court proceedings; however we can discuss this when we meet.
I should certainly ask Lutyens to come and see you to discuss the rose garden—he ought to get on to it at once if the place is not to be cut up a second time.

I have hosts of books but I do not seem to have so very much time for reading; I have a visitor coming to see me every day—it was first rate to see Mort yesterday.

It is raining now so I do not know whether I shall be able to get any exercise this afternoon, but I have already had the better part of an hour this morning as I am allowed two a day.

When Aeneas was at Carthage & he & his comrades were having a distinctly odd time one of the party gave vent to the following remark “Haec olim meminisse juvabit” we shall have pleasure in looking back on this some day! Does not that rather describe our position?

All good luck to you

Your loving
Husband

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At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} 7th.

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

Brixton Prison.—Is glad to hear she is getting on well. Duval and Evelyn Sharp have visited, and he has started learning Italian. Looks forward to seeing her on Thursday.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
9th March 1912

Dearest

Thank you for sending me news that you are getting on all right, I hope by this time you have had your letters, this is the third I have written to you {1}. I am very well indeed & feel sure when you see me on Thursday you will think so too. I had a very pleasant visit from Duval yesterday aft[er]noon and from Evelyn Sharp this morning.

I have just started learning Italian, I have not got far enough yet to be able to say how I like it. I thought when I came here I should get through an immense mass of reading, but somehow there are so many things which take up time, that I do very little & of that a good deal goes in reading the newspapers.

We had a hymn practice this morning in chapel which I thought was good; some of the hymns & tunes were inspiring & refreshing.

I had my second exercise indoors yesterday afternoon as it was wet but today is lovely and I expect we shall get both outside.

It will be jolly to see you on Thursday {2} but mind! you have got to look as well as I do!

your loving
Husband.

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At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the enve-lope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliber-ately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} Only one of the previous letters (PETH 6/110) has survived.

{2} 14th.

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

Brixton Prison.—Is glad to hear she is well. His Italian is progressing, and he has been attending chapel. Evelyn Sharp, Mary Neal, and Sayers have visited, and his sister Annie has written.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
11th March 1912

Dearest

I was delighted to get your letter and to learn from it that things are going well with you and that you have come across some of the others—you will not now feel at all alone. Also you need not have the smallest anxiety about me as I am very well[,] have plenty to do and get regular exercise & have not a trace left of indigestion. I started learning Italian on Saturday {1} and have already made a good deal of progress; I find it very easy, in view of French and Latin, and also very fascinating; when I know a little more I shall start on Dante.

I had two visitors on Saturday as in addition to Miss Evelyn Sharp, the Govenor† kindly allowed me to see Mary Neal who was on her way to Holmwood & wanted instructions. It was a great pleasure to see them both. Sayers came to day & I quite cheered him up—he has promised to send me a book I have not yet read—I forget its name. I have also had a letter from my sister Annie & I shall send her a reply soon. It will not be long after you get this that we shall meet—that will be good will it not though the place will be not one that we would naturally choose! Also we shall see those two other dear people—I hope they will be better than they were last Wednesday {2}.

I went to Chapel twice yesterday—there was some very hearty singing, I have not missed any day except the first.

Your loving
Husband

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At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} 9th.

{2} 6th.

† Sic.

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

Brixton Prison.—Nance has visited and Uncle Edwin has sent a goodwill message. Has been thinking about his defence and reading The Solitary Summer.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
12th March 1912

Dearest

Just a word in pleasant anticipation of seeing you on Thursday. I had a delightful visit from Nance this afternoon and am looking forward to seeing May tomorrow. How very good everyone is to us!

I have been busy today looking into the question of my defence but of course there is not very much one can do until we hear what the other side have got to say.

I think I told you I had had a letter from my sister Annie, I have also received a message of goodwill from my uncle Edwin[.] I am going to write to him tomorrow.

The book Sayers has sent me is “The Solitary Summer” which is very good reading—I have only read before “Elizabeth and her German Garden” {1}.

I expect you see the Times, there is a capital letter today from Annie Besant.

Your own loving
Husband

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One folded sheet. At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the enve-lope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F P’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} A popular semi-autobiographical novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898. The Solitary Summer, a companion piece, was published the following year.

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

Brixton Prison.—Refers to their meeting (at Bow Street) yesterday. Has had some exercise, despite the rain. Hetty Lawes and George Fox have written and Shepherd has visited. Refers to reports in the newspapers.

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Brixton Prison
15th March 1912

Dearest

It was indeed good to see you yesterday & find you looking so well. By the time I got back here & had had a meal it was nearly time for bed—I expect you found the same.

Today has been what would be called a “nice soft day”; but in spite of the drizzle we man-aged to get our excercise† out of doors morning & afternoon—& in the morning as I was coming down one side of the yard I heard the song of a lark & looking up I spied him in the sky high up; I kept him in sight while I walked down that side & the next angle but had to lose him when I turned & I think he came down then for his song ceased also. I should hardly have expected a lark’s song in such a place!

I had not time to tell you yesterday that I had such a dear letter from Hetty Lawes & she sent me the little flowers that I took up to court with me, the violets smelt so sweet.

Shepherd came this afternoon & I think I cheered him up a bit; poor old fellow I think it has troubled him a lot more than it has us.

I have also had a letter from George Fox—he wrote to Holloway (thinking I was there!) as the letter has been forwarded on from there. It all makes one realise what very nice friends one has.

I have been looking at today’s papers; as usual the Daily Telegraph has the best account being really very accurate & full; the Times & the Standard are both fairly good.

It seems to me that we shall for some time to come look forward to these little weekly journeys up to Bow Street as our “day out”!

Your loving
Husband.

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One folded sheet. At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F P’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

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

Brixton Prison.—Looks forward to seeing her on Thursday, and reflects on the privilege of playing a part in the present struggle (the suffrage movement). Refers to his visitors and his activities, and discusses Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
19 March 1912

Dearest

It is very good to know that I shall see you again on Thursday & in the meantime I have the confidence that you are well & content. I feel very deeply how great is our privelege† that we are able to play our part in this great struggle fraught with so much hope & blessing for the human race.

I had a visit from Rev Hugh Chapman this morning; he gave me a number of ideas which I prize; he is also going to send me a book by Lecky wh† he says he knows I shall like.

I have just finished reading Prescott’s “Conquest of Mexico”—what a wonderful story it is! Though all the tales of bloodshed & barbarity are rather horrid reading, it is wonderful to realise that Cortes landing in Mexico with a total army of about 400 or 500 men suceeded† in winning battle after battle & ultimately entering the capital itself without any reinforcements. And that his final conquest of the whole country was acheived† with only two or three times this number of Spaniards. He was opposed not only by the Indians but by his own countrymen & had disaffection to face inside his own ranks as well.

Brother Jack {1} came to see me yesterday & brought me a little book on Bergson’s philosophy; I have been wanting some time to read about this.

Tomorrow I am to have another visit from Mort.

Owing to the wet weather we have had to have a lot of our exercise inside lately, but the wing is large & there is a good deal of room for a walk; but this afternoon we have had a lovely walk in the sunshine outside. I keep pegging away with my Italian & hope really to have learnt a lot before I come out, I am also starting to get a more thorough grip of French.

With dear love

Ever Your own
Husband.

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One folded sheet. At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name F. P. Lawrence’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} John Herbert Greenhalgh.

† Sic.

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

87 Clement’s Inn, W.C.—Expresses his love and admiration for her, and his sense of the honour of taking part in the forthcoming trial.

(With an envelope labelled ‘My most precious possession’, etc., which formerly also contained 6/80.)

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87 Clement’s Inn, W.C.
April 25. 12

My great beloved

I have it in my heart to write to you of many things—to tell you, beloved, how glorious it is to have you for wife, to tell you how beautiful to me is your majestic spirit, to tell you that in the calm grandeur of your bearing in the exquisite poise of your head in your sublime pride I find my ideal of the perfect woman.

Beloved we are very near to a great day, the greatest that we have seen in our lives. To me it seems that an honour such as conferred only on a few men & women in many centuries is about to be conferred upon us. We are to stand where the great & noble have stood before us all down the ages. We are to be linked up with those who have won the everlasting homage of the whole human race. If next week you & I were to be crowned king & queen in the presence of an adulating people how paltry would be our honour in comparison!

It is supreme joy that you and I will stand there together. It is the complete and perfect expression of that faith to which we by our travail are giving birth.

Lastly, it is good that we shall have by our side that great woman who is our friend & who of all women in the world we would most wish to have with us in that hour.

I am, beloved,

The one who has chosen you & whom you have chosen as
Everlasting Mate.

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

Brixton Prison.—Encourages her with reflections on the ability of the human spirit to transcend material circumstances. Refers to his study of French and Italian, and his other reading, and describes a method of counting on the fingers.

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Brixton Prison
19th June 1912

Dearest

How delightful it is to think that this actual paper will be carried to you & that I shall get a reply written by yourself! I have sent you in my thoughts many messages of love which I feel confident have reached you, just as yours have reached me bringing their rich benison with them; But the actual written word gives tangible shape & contact & certainty.

I have not been in any way anxious about you, & equally you have I am sure not been anxious about me. You know that the one thing, which alone always seems worth while to me, is that the human spirit should transcend the whole of the material world; & therefore you do not need to be told that not in the very smallest degree have I been dismayed or discouraged by my environment. Dearest, here in the stillness—that is, to me, essentially the stillness of earth life—I am conscious only of the great spiritual tie which binds us together & binds us to the great Power which guides us. These are days when one drinks of the deep wells of life & because the draft is pure & crystal it refreshes & invigorates far beyond any draft of ordinary daily life. Or again it is as though the noisy overtones which make the chords & discords of the work-a-day world were hushed, & the fundamental notes were heard alone in all their simple grandeur. Or again it seems to me as though of the beauty, which is in the outer world & which our senses detect, the spirit itself had become perceptible to our souls direct.

One of my great joys is to watch the sunlight in the evening on the walls of my cell; some-times the nights are dull & then I miss it, but more often the last hours are bright. It sinks below a house close by about a quarter past seven and is then shut off from sight; each evening the last rays go a little further on the wall than the evening before, but we are coming soon (next Friday) to the longest day & after that it will begin to go back again.

Now you will want to know all I have been reading; First let me say it is surprising how little time I seem to have though I scarcely miss a minute of the day. Nevertheless I have read a larger number of books since I came in. I haven’t made so very much progress in Italian so I daresay you will nearly have caught up to where I am reckoning in what I did before. In the Berlitz Book, which I think you have got also, I have got to page 50. For the last few days I have laid it aside for a study of French which has caught my fancy, but I shall come back to it again in a little while & then I shall probably go on until I finish the book. I have been fascinated with Trevelyans† story of the siege of Rome {1}. It is really the volume preceding the one on Garabaldi’s† Thousand, & it is in my judgment a good deal the finer of the two. Have you read it? I cannot remember. Then I have read over again the story of the Thousand & hope shortly to read the third volume which I understand is now out. I have also got Crispi’s account of the same events {2} but have not read it yet. I have also read a book on radium, & one on Faraday which have inter-ested me very much. During the last week I have been wrestling with Green’s history of England {3} & with a very ponderous life of Henry Newman {4} which though good is very heavy to di-gest. A great soul was Newman, but somehow I can’t help feeling that he lost his way; perhaps a wider understanding might make one see it differently. In addition to other things I have also read a good deal of lighter literature including Pecheur d Island† {5} which I think delightful & two books by Mark Twain—Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn—which Annie gave me. You should get May to send them to you[;] they are full of delicious humour.

May has been very good to me, so thoughtful & kind, sending me everything I could possibly want.

I think you will be amused to know that once when I was taking exercise by walking up & down my cell, I started counting my walks on my fingers & arrived at the following:—it is of course said that on the fingers of the two hands one can count from one up to ten, but that is only by reckoning each finger of each hand to count one only; if the fingers of the left hand are allowed to have a different value from the fingers of the right, one can count all the way from one up to 35 (that is six times six less one), & if the thumbs of each hand are also allowed to count differently from the fingers, then one can count all the way from 1 up to 99. One may even go further but if I do so you will say I am becoming like I was on the top of the omnibus on that famous occasion! Anyhow I don’t think you will mind this little digression. Perhaps you will be able to work it out yourself!

Dearest how close we have been together all this month for all the physical barriers that have been between us. I have treasured your beautiful words about Whit Sunday in my heart & they have been a great joy to me. I have thought very much about you and shall be thinking of you so in the next few days, but they will not be thoughts of anxiety but of confidence & assurance. You well know that my spirit is behind yours sustaining you in all that you do, & I know & have the certainty that your spirit is behind mine; & so together we are very strong.

Dearest the sun is shining brilliantly, it is a gorgeous & magnificent day! I am full of radiant life.

My very great love to you

Your husband.

P.S Your dear delightful letter has just come; you seem to have been able to write a day earlier than me. I have read it through with such pleasure & shall read it and reread it many times; but I am so anxious to get this off without any delay so that you may have it soon. Blessings on you for all your dear words. Ever thine

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One folded sheet. At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 7294 Name Lawrence F W. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} Garibaldi’s Defence of the Roman Republic, by George Macaulay Trevelyan (1907), the first book of a trilogy which also comprised Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909), and Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911).

{2} Probably The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi (2 vols., 1912).

{3} A Short History of the English People, by J. R. Green, first published in 1874, or perhaps his expanded History of the English People (4 vols., 1878–80).

{4} The Life of John Henry, Cardinal Newman, by Wilfrid Ward (2 vols., 1912).

{5} Pêcheur d’Islande (An Iceland Fisherman), by Pierre Loti (1886).

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

S.S. ‘Ranchi’.—Describes his and his wife’s journey by ship from Marseilles as far as Crete.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original. Subjoined is the text of a telegram dated 5 Nov.)

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Transcript

P & O. S. N. Co. | S. S. Ranchi
The last day to Port Said, October 26th, 1[926]

A deep blue sea, with tiny dancing waves is all around the ship as I write. The sun is exceptionally hot for this part of the voyage and the shade temperature has been close on 80º for the last couple of days. The time since we reached Marseilles has passed along very pleas[ant]ly and very rapidly.

The ship did not start till late Friday night so we spent the afternoo[n] of that day walking about in Marseilles in a park by the sea and climbin[g] by the funicular to the golden Virgin on the hill.

All Friday night the mails were coming on board and it was 5 a.m. before we actually left the harbour. But the French coast was still plainly visible when we got up and for some hours afterwards. By midday there was nothing to be seen but ocean.

The first two days of the trip were a bit choppy and the lethargy o[f] the beginning of a voyage with the bromide of the sea made us sleepy and a little headachy; our cabin on the bottom deck with its port hole closed would have been unbearable but for delicious draughts of fresh air that were poured in continuously just over our berths by a special ventilating apparatus.

We speedily found several people we knew on board and made the acquai[n]tance of several more. Curiously enough they are all judges in India. One (Blackwell) has played tennis with me in the Inner Temple, another (Rankin) was at Trinity with me, and is now Chief Justice in Calcutta. Blackwell and his wife are going out to Bombay for the first time and have invited us to stay with them on our return there. They also introduced us to Mr. Justice Crump and his wife with whom we played Bridge last night. Still another Judge, an Indian, Sir C Ghose, is on board with his wife returning after a visit to Europe; he is a friend of Bose, and was in England during the suffragette campaign and attended some of the meetings.

We passed through the Straits of Bonifacio (between Corsica and Sardinia) after dark on Saturday evening and saw nothing but the intermittent lights of the lighthouse. We were more fortunate on Sunday. Two thirty in the afternoon saw us opposite the volcanic island of Stromboli with its crater emitting smoke; quite a large village is gathered at its foot with a population that I am told lives by fishing. Another hour and a half brought us in sight of Sicily and we ran into the narrow Straits of Messina before darkness came upon us. Avoiding the fierce promontory of “Scylla” on the Italian coast, and the treacherous whirlpool of “Charybdis” on the Sicilian side, we steamed on past Messina now fully lighted up, and the wonderful illuminated promenade of Italian Reggio and so out into the open sea once more.

Another 24 hours brought us to the lighthouse on Crete and that on the island of Gaydo just south of the larger island. We are due at Port Said before day-break on Wednesday, October 27th.

We have already had a dance on board and several games; and a sports committee has been formed of which I am a member. After Port Said they will put up more awnings and players will not be subject to the fierce sun. We are due at Bombay on Friday morning November 5th. Our address while in India will be c/o Thos. Cook and Son, Bombay.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

P.S. Cable received from Bombay, 5th. November, 1926, as follows:

“Arrived safely after a calm journey. Both well. Made several friends and enjoyed the dances on board.”

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The right-hand side of the text has missed the paper. The missing letters have been supplied in square brackets.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

S.S. ‘Ranchi’.—Outlines the intended programme of his and his wife’s tour of India.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

P & O. S. N. Co.
S. S. Ranchi.
November 3rd, 1926

An exceedingly comfortable journey is behind us. We are now only two days out from Bombay. So far all has been leisure, to-morrow will be pay, pack, and preparations, & Friday we shall be plunged into the vortex of our activities in India.

The voyage itself has however been far from wasted, for on this boat are congregated men holding important positions all over India—mostly English but a few Indians as well—and they have been eager to give us information upon all and every subject connected with the country.

There is not very much to tell about the voyage and it would be foolish of me to give you any impressions with regard to conditions in India until I have seen something of them first hand. But I have gathered enough to realise that there will be more than ample to fill up our allotted ten weeks to the brim. We do not propose to stay very long in Bombay on arrival, and as soon as possible we shall take the mail train through to Madras where we shall stay with an old College friend of mine, A.Y.G. Campbell. Mr. & Mrs. James Cousins are also there and they have received an invitation for us to go with them into the Native State of Mysore and stay there a few days as guests of the State.

After returning to madras† we are going towards the end of November up to Calcutta where we have a large circle of friends including the Governor, Bose the Scientist, Lord Lytton, and Tagore the poet. I expect to pay a visit to the jute mills and coal mines and we also hope to get away to Darjeeling to see the Himalayas.

After leaving Calcutta we are going to see the sacred city of Benares where I want to meet some of the professors of the Hindu University. Of course the famous Taj Mahal at Agra will claim a visit and from about December 15 to 20 we have promised to Mrs. Cruichshank† (née Joan Dugdale) at Sitapur near Lucknow. After that we have to see Delhi, Amritsar, Lahore and Ahmedabad, the home of Gandhi, before returning to Bombay.

We are due to sail from there in the Kaisar-i-Hind on January 15, and had intended to come straight home; but at Port Said on our way out we received a fascinating invitation to visit one of the Egyptian ministers at his home at Alexandria on our way back. We have decided to accept this, and accordingly our return will be delayed a few days, but not later than the first week in February.

Letters may be posted to us in India up to Wednesday night, December 22nd in London (and a day earlier in the provinces) to c/o Thos. Cook and Son, Bombay, who will forward all correspondence during our stay in India.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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† Sic.

Circular letter by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

S.S. ‘Ranchi’.—Describes their arrival at Aden, and their meeting with Lydia and her family at Port Said.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

P & O. S. N. COMPANY.
S.S. RANCHI.
November 3rd, 1926.

My dear Friends,

Let me send you my love and greeting. We are now nearing Bombay after a perfectly splendid voyage, with lovely weather all the way—such wonderful light and colour in sea and sky. Many a time I have to pinch myself to make sure it is all real and that I am not dreaming a bright dream, to awake to November in Northern latitudes. Our entry into the Bay at Aden was a realisation of the most vivid advertisement poster you can imagine. The sea was an incredible green-blue, the rocks of Aden a rose-red. The warm breeze fluttered the white and gay filmy dresses of the women on board[;] even the “field-glass” incident and the Kodak camera were not missing. Anything so fiercely barren as Aden looks, I have not yet seen. We had four hours in port from 11–3 o’clock. We did not leave the ship for there is nothing to see but a military fort and some ancient tanks constructed by the Romans, for hoarding the water and supplying the garrison. We shall have a chance to see these in January, when the heat will be less fierce than it is now upon those sun-exposed sunbaked cliffs. The scene from the deck, with the boats coming and going with their merchandise of oil for the ship, and ostrich feathers and fans, and amber necklaces and trinkets to tempt the passengers was most picturesque, and so was the landing of the mails in boats by means of a crane. We had four days before this—a halt of four hours in the Port of the Suez Canal—Port Said.

Some of you will remember that I once had a secretary whose name is Lydia, and that she married an Egyptian student, whom she met in London. She went out to Alexandria with him. They live in the home of his parents, and his father is the Chief Revenue Minister for Ports and Lights under the Egyptian Government {1}, a man with the title of “Bey” who has much influence. When we dropped anchor at Port Said at 6 a.m. in the morning of October 27th we knew by radiogram that Lydia in Port Said was waiting to greet us. But we did not expect her so early in the morning to appear, as she did at our Stateroom door. Her intense joy and delight infected us with the same feeling. Maurice (the husband) and Shafik (the little son) of 2¾ years of age awaited us on deck, and the parents sent their warm greeting. They had both intended to come, but at the last moment “Papa” took ill, and “Mamma” could not leave him. Well before 6.30 we were landed in Maurice’s steam launch (which he had borrowed from a friend) and they gave us a sumptuous breakfast in their hotel, and then we made some purchases. We enjoyed every moment of those four hours and were so very warmly entreated to stay in the Paternal home on our return, that we are seriously considering whether we cannot make some arrangement, though this is difficult as we have contracted for the return journey to the last detail. Nothing could exceed the warmth of the greeting given us. They had made this long journey of about 7 hours, taking the child for the first time in the train. They have already painted furnished and prepared our room in their house, counting upon our visit to them, and they made us feel that it would be almost wicked not to give and receive this mutual delight.

We some times say to each other that if we had to turn back without landing in India at all, the voyage would have been worth while: for we have met so many representative and interesting people and they have given us so readily and warmly, information and personal experience. Our first impression of a crowd of Indian Civil Servants is a very pleasant one—the general idea is that they are comparable to a crowd of Schoolmasters who are proud of their school and deeply interested in the boys. You get the same unashamed keenness which is very refreshing. There are some very highly educated and influential Indians on board and we have had most interesting and delightful talks with them too, and have made friends in particular with Sir Charu Ghose, one of the Judges of the High Court in Calcutta. The women on board are mostly very good to look at, and one cannot help being very proud of them. The young mothers are incredibly young and athletic, there are about 20 children and they enjoy the voyage as much as anyone. They are most attractive. Fred and I have remarked that we have never heard a cross word to or from a single child, and we all agree that they are “a prize lot”. They had a children’s Fancy Dress party on Monday {2}. It was a charming sight. Our Fancy Dress Ball was a great success the following evening. There were 83 costumes all of them good. The decks were beflagged and illuminated and we were all very festive till past the midnight hour.

Within a few hours a very different experience awaits. Gone will be the cool breezes, the hours of leisure and all the immunities of life on board, and there will be heat, flies, and clamour! Let us hope there will be compensating interests and delights! It is all unknown country to me.

Do not forget that letters written up to December 21 will reach us c/o Thos. Cook, Bombay, and let us have a good batch by every mail.

With greetings.

Yours,
EMMELINE PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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{1} Scander Bey Gabriel.

{2} 1 November.

Circular letter by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Gambiers Gardens, Adyar, Madras.—Describes Campbell’s home, and gives her impressions of Madras. Refers to the involvement of women in the recent elections there.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

Gambiers Gardens,
Adyar,
Madras.
November 10, 1926.

My dear Friends,

This is only our sixth day in India, and so very many new and interesting experiences have been crowded into it, that I can hardly believe we have not been at least twice as long in this country. Fred has written a good long letter up to the day before yesterday when we were in the train for Madras. We reached Madras at 7.30 yesterday morning and were met by our very old and dear friend, Mr. A. Y. G. Campbell, Secretary to the Government of Madras, and by Dr. James Cousins, Principal of the Theosophical College at Adyar. We drove “home” at once leaving our bearer, Amir, to see to the luggage. We were simply delighted on the first sight of our new home. One enters the gate by what looks like a beautiful park, with fine trees, and stretches of green grass, with a river in the distance, and reaches a beautiful domain with great stone pillared high verandahs running all round, with very high vast cool rooms, with no doors and with high blue-shuttered windows opening out on the park according to the time of day and position of the sun. Electric fans in all the rooms can be turned on by pressing a button, and one lives all day and all night in currents of air. Fred and I have a gorgeous suit[e] of 5 rooms and a huge verandah for our private use, so we feel like duke and duchess. He is kept going with interviews and sights from 7.30 in the morning till night, but I prefer to spend the noon hours at home where I have books on Indian Architecture and the 5 daily newspapers, representing different shades of thought—and endless occupation for the mind and thoughts—as I think over the crowding impressions of the past few hours.

Madras is very beautiful, quite unlike Bombay which is beautiful also but in a different kind of world. Bombay is like a beautiful city of California—a mixture of Pasadena with a harbour beautiful as the Golden Gate of S. Francisco. Madras is unique—emerald with rice fields, rich in every kind of vegetation full of colour—waves of colour break over you, one is confused and dazzled. We see many people and talk with many, all am[a]zingly kind and ready “to take trouble with us” and we get a bewildering mass of impressions from which emerges the fact, that the individual persons who talk to us are all keen, disinterested, and very sincere. It is like Galsworthy’s play “Loyalties”, for each one is living for some ideal which he shares in common with his group. Where that ideal is touched he is as firm as a rock, otherwise is full of wide and varied sympathies and kindnesses.

We are invited to dine with the Governor, Viscount Goschen, this evening at Government House.

Monday was election day for the Legislative Council of Madras. 70 per cent of the Hindus voted, and a very large number of women. A woman stood as a candidate, the results will not be known until the end of the week. Women did duty at the polling booths. There are interesting articles about this subject in the papers. Everybody apparently agrees that the women of this country are developing with astonishing rapidity for “the unchanging East”. There is a mixed Ladies Club in Madras where European and Indian ladies play games of all kinds and tournaments. They are having a great Gymkana next Monday, to which I am invited, but on that day we shall be in Mysore. We have been invited to go to visit the Native Ruler of Mysore for 3 days so we travel all Thursday night and return here Monday night. The attractions and the invitations are so many that we could easily put in a very fruitful and interesting 10 months, instead of 10 weeks. Everyone regards the shortness of our sojourn as an absurdity and so it is, but I am so glad to have come at all, that I can’t give any emotion to regrets. I heard 2 lectures on Indian Art yesterday by Dr. Cousins—there was a dinner party here at 8.15. My day began at 5.30, when I was roused by Amir who brought tea to our compartment and ended about midnight. But I was not tired. So far the life and the climate suit me very well. I am always hungry before the meal time. Fred is very well too. With love and greeting.

EMMELINE PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Gambiers Gardens, Adyar, Madras.—Describes Campbell’s house and the Theosophical College. Refers to their visits to Hindu temples at Madras and a meeting with the Maharaja at Mysore.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)
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Transcript

Gambiers Gardens, | Adyar, | Madras.
November 17, 1926.

It is six a.m. The sun is just rising. I am seated on a spacious balcony in Campbell’s house overlooking this Adyar river. The clouded sky is tinted with pale pink. The temperature is about 82º, but as the air is heavily charged with moisture it seems much hotter. At 6.15 E.P.L. will join me and our “Boy”, Amir, who is a grave old Mohamedan servant whom we engaged at Bombay to look after us all the time we are in India, will bring us out “chota hazri” consisting of bananas tea and toast and butter. After chota we shall dress and drive off to Mr. Cousins’ bungalow getting back here at 8 o’clock to receive some visitors. At 9 o’clock we shall breakfast with Campbell and his friend, Col. Worgan who lives with him in the house and after that I am going to drive to the secretariat to have a short talk with the Governor of Madras.

We are very fortunate in having the use of a motor car during our stay in Madras, as another of Campbell’s friends, Mr. Boag, has gone to Delhi and has kindly allowed us full control of his car during his absence. The driver understands enough English to take our instructions. According to Indian ways he always shakes his head which means “yes” when I tell him anything, and at first one thinks he means “no” as it would do in England.

Campbell’s bungalow is pretty much what one would call a palace in England. Our rooms occupy about a quarter of the first floor and are about the size of the whole of Fourways including the billiard room. In addition our balcony alone is 100 ft by 40 ft with 15 tall Corinthian columns.

Madras is absolutely a garden city, Campbell’s compound I should think must be 25 acres in extent and some compounds are even larger. The Theosophical Society have a compound which is probably 50 to 100 acres and is lower down the river. In it are situated headquarters, library, several other buildings and bungalows one of which is occupied by the Cousins. From the balcony of the Library a view can be got of the mouth of the Adyar, and the ocean itself. A little north of the mouth of the Adyar commences the marine parade of Madras which stretches for seven gorgeous miles of sea front.

One day a prominent Hindu, Mr. Rangacharya, took us to see two Indian temples one to Shiva and the other to Vishnu {1}. By special privilege we were allowed to enter, first taking off our shoes. We were allowed to look right through to the holy of holies, and were also shown the silver and gold pedestals made in the form of animals on which the images of the god are carried each by thirty or forty men on the days of the great festivals. On one side of each temple is a great artificial lake (known as a tank in India) with steps down on all sides on which the people sit. On the other three sides of the tank are houses in which large numbers of people live. We were not allowed to leave either of the temples until the usual Indian honour had been conferred upon us of hanging round our necks great garlands of fragrant flowers.

In the middle of our stay in Madras we paid a visit to the Indian State of Mysore. The ruler, the Maharajah is a very enlightened man who has won praises on all sides for the progressive and sympathetic way he has run his State. We stayed in the city of Mysore in the guest house as the guests of the State, and were taken several interesting drives by the chief secretary and his assistant. One motor trip was to the famous island fort of Seringapatam. Another to the great dam of which they are justly proud. It is the second largest dam in the world, it locks in 40 square miles of water, is 130 ft high and 1¾ miles in length. It was constructed throughout by Indian labourers working under Indian engineers without any help from Europeans. During our stay we had a short interview with the Maharajah and if I had been able to stay a day or two longer he would, the secretary said, have probably invited me to play tennis with him as he is a very keen and good player. Mysore is about 2000 ft above sea level, and the climate in November is dry and invigorating like a perfect July day in England.

To-night we are off to spend a couple of days in Madura close to the southernmost point of India. I must leave the rest of the account of our stay in Madras until next mail. I will only say that Campbell has proved as ever a most kind & excellent host, and there is scarcely a public man of importance here whom I have not seen and talked to.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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{1} The Kapaleeswarar temple and tank, and the Parthasarathy temple, in front of which is the tank known as Paravei.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

En route to Calcutta.—Outlines his and his wife’s activities during the last fortnight. Discusses in detail the political situation in Madras and the labour conditions there, and describes visits to Mysore and Madura.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

En Route to Calcutta.
November 22, 1926.

It is only a month yesterday since we left England, and a fortnight ago in the train to Madras I was writing an account of our first experiences of India {1}.

I have rarely lived as strenuous fourteen days as those which I have just experienced. Thanks to the businesslike arrangements made by my friend Campbell I have seen almost everyone of any account in Madras—the Governor, all the non-elected members of the Madras Government, all but one of the elected Madras ministers, and all the principal members of the three political parties in Madras, “justisites”, “independents”, and “congressmen”; I have visited most of the factories of the city, I have addressed three trade union meetings and have discussed the labour position with the commissioner of Labour and with all the principal trade union officials; in addition I have travelled 300 miles west and spent 3 days in the State of Mysore seeing sights in the capital city Mysore and addressing two meetings in the adjacent city of Bangalor, and 300 miles south to Madura where we stayed with a landowner and spent two days visiting temples and investigating conditions in a neighbouring village.

Let me deal first with the political situation. We arrived in Madras on the day immediately following the election which had gone off quietly but not without considerable interest and excitement. We were told that quite a number of women had exercised the franchise, and that one woman had stood as a candidate in a rural constituency on the West Coast. Previous to the election the “Justice” members had formed the principal party in the Madras Legislative Council and therefore from them the Ministers had been selected. These ministers had charge of what are known as the “transferred” subjects, while the “reserved” subjects, according to the diarchy installed by the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, were controlled by the members of the Legislative Council appointed by and responsible to the Governor alone.

My first meeting was with the members of the “Congress” party who are the Swarajists in Madras. Their main plank is the utter inadequacy of the amount of self government provided by the existing constitution. The diarchy of the provincial governments and the very limited powers given to the elected representatives in the (federal) Government of India are alike condemned by them. They do not want a commission appointed in 1929 by Britain to consider what modifications of the constitution she will be graciously pleased to grant to India, but a round table conference of Indians and British to arrange the details of the change over to complete “Dominion” status. They have abandoned the “boycott” of the Council as implied in the “non-cooperation” of Gandhi, and the “walk-out of the Chamber” as ineffective political weapons and substituted obstruction based as far as they understand it on the tactics of Parnell. On local issues they deny that they are in any sense either a “capitalist” party or a Brahmin party, pointing to the fact that most of the Trade Union leaders hold prominent positions in their ranks, and many non-Brahmins were their candidates at the recent elections. They support a wide franchise but point out that an illiterate franchise provides grave opportunities for corruption.

The Justice party consider the diarchy a piece of rather badly constructed machinery which will need very considerable repairs if it is to be made to work. But they are quite averse to jumping from that into complete self-government either in the local or in the federal government. They regard the Swaraj and Congress parties of Indian† as essentially Brahmin, and fear that they would use any power given to them [to] rivet fetters of Brahmin tyranny upon India. They look upon themselves as champions of the non-Brahmins generally including the large section of outcast “untouchables” who are so terribly oppressed at the present time.

The Independents have not any one point of view and hold many divergent opinions, some approximating to the “Congress” and others to the “Justice” party.

The Mohammedans have a special franchise of their own for the Assembly and a specially appointed member of the Legislative Council of Madras. As traders they have not troubled much about the higher education which has been so much sought after by the Brahmins, and some of those whom I saw are fearful lest greater self government may mean in practice subordination of Mohammedan to Hindu which they would resent and resist perhaps even by violence.

The English in Madras hold many varying opinions and those in official positions are naturally chary of expressing very definite views as to the future. I think however there is a general consensus of opinion that there has been a genuine attempt made both by the British and by the Indian majority-party to work the constitution and that it has not proved at all easy. Some think that self government ought to have been confined first to taluk boards and district boards (rural district councils and county councils). Few however would think it possible to go back on the provincial self-government already conferred. The most advanced x† view that I heard was that (since people prefer self-government to good government) complete self-government should be bestowed in 1929 on the Madras Presidency, the Governor becoming entirely constitutional, all the subjects including law and order and finance being “transferred” to the control of the popularly-elected assembly, and the whole government to be in the hands of ministers to be selected, as in England, from the majority party. But, and those who took this view were emphatic on this point, this handing over the reins in Madras must be accompanied by a tightening instead of s† loosening of the reins in the Government of India as a whole, and further it must by no means be assumed that self governing powers similar to those proposed for Madras should be given to all the other component parts of British India.

I do not propose, at this stage, to express any view of my own, and I will therefore only add that the result of the elections in Madras presidency has been a considerable victory for the Congress party, who are now the largest single party and will perhaps constitute an absolute majority of the elected members (out of a Chamber of about 130, 30 or more are official or nominated). The woman in S. Canara just missed being elected. Whether the Congress party will accept office—as minister for the “transferred” subjects remains to be seen. Their originally avowed policy was the reverse and they have given pledges to the Indian National Congress itself to this effect. But it is thought that Congress itself this December may give them absolution from this promise and that that may not be too late for their final reply to the Governor.

I pass now to Labour conditions. It is essential in this connection to remember that town factory labour forms but a tiny part of the total labouring population of the country. This is of the greatest importance both in itself—in order that true proportion may be preserved in the mind—and also because the conditions of agricultural labour have necessarily a great effect upon wages and conditions in the factories. If the factory worker retains one foot on the land he has to that extent a refuge from unlimited oppression in the factory. If there is a horde of ill paid half-starved agricultural labourers at the factory gates that will make a successful strike very difficult.

I am glad to say that after considerable investigation I obtained substantial agreement as to facts from the employers’ and workmen’s sides. But here the satisfaction ends, for the conditions are certainly deplorable. In the cotton mills of Madras a skilled man working nine hours earns from less than a rupee a day or some R24 a month (8/- a week) up to about R36 (12/- a week) with a few at higher amounts. At the railway works the hours are 8 and the wages of about 50% of the skilled men vary from about R18 a month up to R24 (6/- to 8/- a week), another 30 or 40% getting 9/- to 12/- a week, with some at higher levels. The coolies (labourers) get R10, R12, and sometimes as much as R15 a month (3/6, 4/-, and 5/- a week).

Of course the Indian has far fewer expenses than the British worker having next to nothing to find for clothes and fuel, while rent will be from 4d to 1/- a week. Nevertheless at least R32 a month (11/- a week) is needed for bare subsistence for man wife and 3 children, while R72 a month (24/- a week) was given me by some of the workers as a real living wage for a family. Consequently existing wages do not in many cases provide even a subsistence level unless several other members of the famil[y] are also working.

One of the obnoxious features of Indian factory life is that wages often do not commence to be paid until full six weeks after a man starts work. In the meanwhile he often gets into the hands of the moneylender and can never extricate himself again. Other complaints are as to fines and victimisation, and the fact that while there are elected representatives of employers on the legislative councils there are no elected representatives of Labour, also the utterly disproportionate wages given to Europeans and Anglo Indians (children of mixed marriages) who probably start at R84 a month (28/- a week) and rise to far higher figures.

In fairness I should like to say that I found one of the British-owned cotton mills considerably superior to the Indian ones. Some attempts were being made at good housing, education of children of the operatives, and welfare work generally including the provision of well ventilated rooms for mid-day dinner. In the Indian mill I was shocked to see workmen eating their food squatting on the floor in the midst of the machinery.

Behind the town operative lies the ryot (peasant farmer), behind the ryot lies the landless agricultural labourer of whom perhaps 50% are outcasts. Taking one year with another the peasant with the help of his family may get an average monthly income of R10 (3/6 a week) and upwards, the landless may get R9, R12, or even R18 or R24 (3/6, 4/-, 6/-, 8/- a week) in busy times for his own labour alone but his wages will sink to R9 a month (3/- a week) or less or nothing when times are slack. Of course his wife and children may also be able to earn something and there may be something to be got out of a cottage industry or even a village industry. But the total family income may very likely not reach R100 a year (£7. 10. -) and of that pittance the money-lender and other harpies may secure a considerable part. I do not give these figures as in any way accurate but rather as a rough estimate from the general talks that I have had. Possibly I may have occasion to correct them later. In any case they relate only to Madras.

{2} In the early part of my letter I spoke of my visits to Mysore and Madura. My wife and I went to the former as guests of the native ruler, the Maharaja. This Indian State is governed exclusively by Indians and has recently received a constitution from him in which there are two properly elected Houses. Though the Maharaja is not obliged to accept their advice I gather that he usually does so except on certain questions which he reserves exclusively for himself. The State is acknowledged to be very well governed and has to its credit the construction by exclusively Indian design and labour of the second largest dam in the world.

In madura† we were entertained by Mr. Foulkes a friend of Mr. Campbell’s. We went inside two most interesting Hindu temples, one of them having an area of some 40 acres including a beautiful artificial lake. I climbed an intricate stairway to the top of one of the towers and overlooked the city. On our second visit it was festival night and the temple was illuminated. Great crowds of worshippers as well as sacred cows wandered everywhere at will except into the holy of holies.

Not far from Madura is the village of Usilempatti where the interesting experiment is being made of weaning the tribe of Kullahs from dacoity (robbery) by the simple expedients of giving them water and thus enabling them to earn their own living from their irrigated fields, & by giving their children education in an elementary school. It appears to be quite successful so far, showing once more that the roots of crime are poverty and ignorance.

This letter should reach you a few days before Christmas. Please accept from my wife and myself for your own circle and for all your friends our hearty good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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{1} PETH 6/125.

{2} The last sheet, which begins here, is marked “Keep Carefully only Copy.” and there is a cross in the margin alongside the paragraph about the village of Usilempatti. At the foot of the preceding sheet is written, ‘Note last Page taken by FWPL to Edinburgh 22/2/45 EK.’

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Ghoom.—Describes his and his wife’s train journey to Darjeeling, and their accommodation there. Gives his impressions of the Himalayas, and describes his ascent of Tiger Hill at Ghoom.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

Ghoom, November 30, 1926.

A Week-end in the Himalayas.

I am seated in the verandah of a tiny hotel 8000 feet above the sea. On my left are the eternal snows—Kinchinjunga towering into the sky 20,000 feet above me and forty five miles away. Ir† is eight o’clock in the morning and breakfast is just coming, but more than 4 hours ago we had our “chota hazri” or little breakfast—a fine draught of hot milk and some buttered toast; for Tiger hill is 3 miles away and 1000 feet above us and it is necessary to climb up there before sunrise if one is to see the full panorama of hill and mountain.

This visit to the Himalayas is sandwiched in at the week-end between two strenuous bits of life at Calcutta—factories, politicians, trade unions—and is a very welcome interlude. We started from Calcutta at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday evening after a light repast and were soon both asleep on the train.

We were awakened at a stop at 6 o’clock. “If you look out in a few minutes on the right side of the train you will catch your first glimpse of the snow mountains” said the guard. Sure enough, a brilliant peak disclosed itself bathed in the pink light of dawn. A little later a whole range came into view and then was lost to sight again.

But we were still in the plains. At 8 o’clock we changed on to a narrow guage† line and the real ascent began. At 1000 feet altitude the train entered a forest and it grew colder. Winding round curve after curve three sturdy little engines pulled the train up the hill each engine having a section to itself, like 3 caterpillars with a little space between.

All sorts of engineering feats were accomplished and every ¾ hour another thousand feet was scaled. The tremendous Kinchinjinga† range came more frequently into view and remained longer in sight. At last the train reached the summit of its journey (about 7500 ft) and ran down a few hundred into Darjeeling station.

A short ascent took us to the “Mount Everest” hotel where we had booked rooms—a really delightful place very spacious but not pretentious, more like the Club at Lake Placid (New York State) than the swagger hotels at S. Moritz. We were almost the only visitors as though this is a perfect time of the year for weather it is between the two seasons of “residents” and “tourists” which come earlier and later.

We had two adjoining rooms and our front windows faced the whole range of which Kinchinjunga is the dominating figure. A little walk took us to Observatory Hill with a living panorama in sight and just above, a plan with names of the peaks. Kinchinjunga itself is 45 miles away and well over 28,000 feet in height that is to say more than 20,000 above the eminence on which we stood. Yet it stood out in clear outline against the cloudless sky. Only a few clouds spread out a thin gauzy mist about its lower limbs. I made a rough reckoning and realised that a rope ladder stretched from us to its summit would rise one in ten the whole way. I pointed my walking stick to the peak and verified roughly that it was correct.

It was no good looking for Everest, it cannot be seen from there. Owing to its great distance (110 miles from Darjeeling) its lofty height is hidden by intervening mountains. The guide reminded us that it was 29,002 feet high and when I poured contempt on the odd two feet chid me and pointed with triumph to the printed table!

We walked home passing through the open square where there is a special bazaar on Sunday. Thither had come the surrounding villagers, some pure Tibetans others Nepalese others the Indian Himalayan people half way it seemed between Aryan and Mongol. All of them are fine vigorous upstanding dignified happy folk. The men and women seem all able to carry immense loads on their back supported in place by a band round the forehead. The children are naive and fascinating.

Next morning we were called at 4.30 with chota Hazri, a fire was lit for us in the larger bedroom and we sat looking out into the darkness through the window. About 5 o’clock the snow mountains showed in faint outline. At 5.30 the range was clad in faint pink, the nearer dark mountains almost invisible. Two minutes to six the topmost point of Kinchinjunga was shot with light—the rising sun. We waited till nearly 7. Then E.P.L. went back to bed and I wrote letters.

A leisurely day passed and at 5 o’clock we took train to Ghum one station back on the line, the highest point on the railway. We had rooms in a primitive little hotel and after an early meal went to bed soon after 8.

We were called at ¼ past 3! I was to walk and E.P.L. to go in a chair to the top of Tiger hill. In view however of the great altitude E.P.L. decided that it was better I should go alone. It was three miles all uphill—the guide, Ameer and I strode on in the night with a little moon overhead and stars all around. We reached the summit just at 5 o’clock. Light was showing in the Eastern sky. A complete panorama was visible all around, the wonderful Kinchinjunga range in the north, a line of snowy peaks N.E, and in N.W. three points just showing above the dark foreground mountains, and the middle of these was Everest!

The snow hills grew light and punctually at 2 minutes to 6 Kinchinjunga caught the rising sun. Seven minutes later (it is I think some 80 miles further west) Everest shone out.

I waited half an hour, made friends with other sight seers (one of them Dr. Fritz Neuberger of Munich a friend of Fraulein Heymann!) watched the shadows fall down the mountains, and came home to breakfast at the hotel. These later pages have not been written as you can well imagine waiting for breakfast on the Ghum hotel verandah but back once more in the plains. At Ghum there was an interesting Buddhist temple to visit, and a final survey of the hills to be made. Then Ameer came down with the luggage by train and we descended more expeditiously by car ready for an early bed before another strenuous time in Calcutta.

I find this letter may just arrive in time for Christmas so I send once more our every greeting and good wish to you all.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

P.S. | Post up to Dec. 22 to c/o Thos. Cook and Son, Bombay, up to Dec. 29 to Passenger on SS “Kaisar-i-Hind”, Bombay (leaving Bombay Jany 15), up to Jany 5 to Passenger on Kaisar-i-Hind, Aden; up to Jany 12 to c/o Scandar Bey Gabriel, Head Revenue Official Ports and Lights Administration, Alexandria, Egypt.

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† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Hotel Cecil, Agra.—Describes his and his wife’s second visit to Calcutta, and their journey thence to Peshawar, Landikotal, Lahore, Delhi, and Agra. Records Emmeline’s impressions of the Taj Mahal.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

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Transcript

Hotel Cecil,
Agra.
December 15, 1926.

The date at the top of this letter reminds me that a calendar month from to-day we are due to set sail for home. But although we have already travelled through India from West (Bombay) to East (Madras & Calcutta) and from South (Madura close to the tip) to the extreme North (in the frontier of Afghanistan) and are now due in the North centre our next journeyings will take us a long way further East (out of Bengal into Assam) before we turn finally westward and homeward.

My last letter described our sight of the Himalayan snows from Darjeeling. I have now to tell you of our journey over the Khyber Pass and of our visit to the historic monuments of India.

Before this however I must tell you that my second three days in Calcutta were packed as full of incident as the first. I spent a morning going over a jute mill, an afternoon meeting the liberal and other non-Swaraj politicians, and an evening dining with an Indian Judge and going on from there to an Indian theatre. Another night I dined with the Swarajists, all of the Directors of “Forward” newspaper being present together. I lunched with an interesting group of people and heard a vigorous case made out against the handling by the Bengal Government of the irrigation of the Province, I lunched another day with a group of the Council members of Bengal; and finally Emmeline and I spent a day in the little French town of Chandernagore and visited the home of Mr. Roy Chowdury one of the appointed Labour Members of the Bengal Legislative Assembly.

That night we started on a 60-hour journey to Peshawar. Many people detest train journeys here because of the heat and dust and monotony. We find them very pleasant and a considerable rest after the busy days in towns. Of course it is the “cold weather” period just now when the temperatures in the North of India correspond very much to the best September and October weather in England.

We passed through Allahabad at midday, and in the afternoon reached Cawnpore where Ameer’s [Footnote: ‘Our Indian servant.’] two little girls were brought by his brother down to the station to see him, Delhi at midnight, Amballa at 5 a.m., Lahore at one o’clock in the afternoon, Pindi at 9 p.m., crossed the Indus about 4 a.m., and finally arrived at Peshawar at 6 p.m. It was quite dark, rather cold, the hotel was almost asleep, and our van luggage had got left behind at Amballa.

But the sun very soon shone and at 10 o’clock we were bowling along in a motor car over the Khyber Pass. First some eight miles along a dusty plain to Jamrud. Then 17 miles up a twisty mountain road to Landikotal. It was Tuesday—one of the biweekly caravan days—and we passed and met the full complement of camels and their drivers. We counted enough to enable us to realise that there were about a thousand gping† each way. This is an astonishingly large number and some idea of it may be gathered from these two computations. If they were all tethered head to tail with about a camel’s length between them they would stretch in all (as they did in fact) about three miles. If they each carried on an average 4 cwt of burden (and many of them carried more), they would bear between them a cargo of 200 tons the equivalent of the load of one train!

It was fairly simple on the outward journey to get by them for the road bifurcates in places and while fast vehicular traffic goes one way, ox waggons and pack animals go another, and we got by most of them during these stretches. But coming back we came up with them at places where one of the roads was under repair and we were all in a lump together—two thousand camels and a motor car on one road—no easy task either for camel drivers or chauffeur.

Landikotal is the last cantonment of any size in British India and is the top of the pass. We were taken three miles further with an escort on the front seat, beside Ameer and the chauffeur, to Michnikandar. A bend in the road and the whole Afghan landscape bursts into view—the frontier itself three miles away and beyond, plains and mountains and plains and mountains, and ranges and ranges until at last 200 miles to the North are the snows which lie beyond Kabul which itself is 155 miles away!

We clambered to the top of a mound to get the panoramic view, just above us is the tower fort with 2 Indian soldiers silhouetted against the radiant blue sky. A picnic lunch and the return to Peshawar past endless camels.

Peshawar is always liable to be looted by tribal robbers and is now surrounded by barbed wire and illuminated at night. That these marauding tribes are driven on by hunger is shown by the facts that 1) during the construction of the railway up the pass when there was a livelihood to be got by anyone who chose to work, marauding ceased; the rail built it has begun again. 2) A dam brought water to one tribe, it is now law-abiding. Unfortunately the same remedy cannot be applied elsewhere in other tribal valleys for there is no water available, and the tribesmen cannot be induced to leave their inhospitable mountain valleys for better irrigated regions.

Our friends the Jardines, whom we had met on board ship and expected to find at Peshawar had unfortunately been moved 2 hours journey away and could not come in, but they sent word to friends of theirs, Captain and Mrs. Galbraith, who were perfectly charming to us, showing us the sights of the city, getting up a game of tennis, giving us dinner, and letting us understand what they felt of the situation. It made our stay in Peshawar a delightful one.

A night’s journey and half a day brought us back to Lahore, where Lajpat Rai (now reckoned an Indian moderate) had arranged a public lecture for me and later a private dinner party. I was introduced to Punjab politics where there are three sections:—Mahommeddans 54% Hindus 33% Sikhs 13% (my figures are from memory only). Lajpat Rai has triumphed here over his Swarajist opponents, but the future is uncertain.

Next day after seeing some Labour men and visiting a famous mosque we lunched with some board-ship English friends and then were entertained at a big garden party where most of the leading Indians of Lahore came to see us.

A night’s journey brought us to Delhi. Of the three days there Emmeline spent the first two in bed with a cold, and I the last in bed with a slight fever. As a result we were Cox and Box in sight seeing. First I saw the new Delhi (five miles away) and made the acquaintance of several members of the secretariat; then next day I was taken by the Grahams to a picnic in the grounds of the Hanz Khas, an ancient Hindu College and tomb. The third day Emmeline did a round of Delhi’s† ancient and modern including the newest Delhi and visited the famous fort. We agreed on this that we liked the old Delhis best.

Yesterday morning we came here to Agra and as soon as possible went to the Taj. It is nearly thirty years since I saw it first, and I have seen many other lovely things in between, but my view has not changed that of all human achievements in architecture it stands without a peer. As Emmeline sees it now for the first time I leave the description of it to her. She writes:—“No words, no pictures or models can give any idea of the beauty of the Taj Mahal. The first sight of it strikes one almost breathless, as would the appearance of some heavenly vision. As one approaches nearer, the wonderful effect deepens, for the Taj is not only perfect in its wholeness, but perfect in every detail. Under the blue dome of the Indian sky the shining vision stands, its white marble crystal-like dome gathering and shedding forth the light. The approach to it is by a long avenue of conventional cypresses, and a long stone and marble water garden; and on the further side of the Taj the river Jumna flows.

As you know the building is the commemoration of a beautiful and beloved woman, built by her royal lover and husband. It is the equivalent of a lovely statue, for all the architectural critics admit that this structure expresses in all its curves and lines the ideal beauty of womanhood. The building, the 4 minarets that guard it, and the very large terrace on which it is elevated are of shining white marble, spotless and flawless. Every square yard has been touched by the artist, beautiful carving in bas relief (of flowers) and wonderful carving, of screenwork (like Mushriabiah screenwork): passages from the Koran inlaid in black marble, and lovely floral design inlaid with gems and precious stones. Glowing colour in that crystal whiteness. Beautiful as are all the parts, it is the simplicity and purity of its wholeness that moves one most of all.

The king spent all his patrimony on its completion, and was taken prisoner by his son, who feared penury, and was held in prison for seven years. At the hour of his death, he was at his request, carried to a balcony where across the river he could gaze to the last on the shining dome. We stood on the same balcony and tried to imagine what his thoughts were then.

There are many beautiful buildings and monuments in Delhi and in Agra—but the Taj is supreme. It is to my mind the most beautiful form that the human imagination has ever achieved. There may be greater and grander structures, but nothing for sheer loveliness like it.”

We drove to-day 23 miles to Fatipur Sikri to see the great palace of Akbar, a wonderful work of carved redsandstone†, and the delicate marble tomb of the saint.

Then to-night we went again to the Taj in the moonlight and to-morrow we go there to see the rising sun.

After that we are away to Cawnpore, Sitapur, Benares and eastward through Calcutta to Gauhati in Assam for the Indian National Congress.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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† Sic.

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