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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 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 Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Hotel Cecil, Agra.—Gives an account of the New Year’s celebrations at Calcutta, her visit to the Ramakrishna monastery, and their meeting with Tagore at Santiniketan, after which they came to Agra to revisit the Taj Mahal.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original. The latter part of the letter was written after the Pethick-Lawrences’ departure from Agra.)

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Transcript

January 5th, 1927.
Hotel Cecil,
Agra.

Dear Friends,

The New Year is a great season in Calcutta. It is a general holiday and there are races, polo tournaments, besides many other sports and games. New Year’s Eve was a night of revel in the Great Eastern Hotel, where we were staying in Calcutta. All the English and Scotch customs were carried out to the limit. The dinner was a great affair, of course the regulation turkey and the Christmas pudding enveloped in flames by rum formed part of the banquet. Every body was furnished at their tables with caps and masks and noses, balloons and whistles and hooters, fireworks, crackers, confetti. Scotch pipes dominated the din, and about every ten minutes Auld Lang Syne was sung, and at other times Scotch reels were punctuated with whoops and war cries. The Indian waiters looked on with solemn faces, and moved about bewildered and worried like sheep at a fair. Such a contrast it all was to the rest of the day. Fred having gone off to see some mines, I took a river steamer and went up the great river Hoogli, one of the mouths of the Ganges. It was one of the most golden days imaginable. The sun veiled in its own blazing glory shone in a cloudless sky, and a cool little breeze from the north rippled the surface of the water. I found myself amongst Indians who could talk English and two of them had been to the Congress at Gauhati. The river banks were the scene of ever changing drama—steps and quays (or “ghats” as they are called here) are built into the high sloping bank, and here, men and women and children bathe or play or pray or wash their clothes, and give their cow or buffalo a rub down. Big barges laden with hay or rough pottery floated down with the current and little boats with scarlet sails made their lazy way up or down stream.

When I came to the little quay labelled Belur I landed, for here was the Rama Krishna Monastery of which I had heard and read; and a friend who lives there was waiting to welcome me and take me to her retreat. A very beautiful place of retirement from the world, for her one living room overlooked all the traffic of the great river, and to lie on a mat and watch the noiseless flood going down to the sea, was to get the peace of all the world into your body and soul. Thirty years ago, this American woman met at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago the “Vedanta” Teacher Vivikananda, who himself was a disciple of the Indian Saint Rama Krishna Paramahamsa, and she made her life in India as his disciple forthwith. She helped him to found his Monastery, and now since his death, lives there helping to keep his influence alive and men come to this centre from all over the world. I saw a young man who had just arrived from Czecho-Slovakia, a peasant farmer who had saved money to make the journey and was just settling down to the work on the land, and give his inner being up to the influences that radiate from the place. This home is a centre of culture for many and while I was there, three young men dropped in for a talk. Towards sunset we all went on the roof, and watched the river and the buildings turning to gold and discussed many problems together, as Indians love to do. At last the little steamer that was to take me back came in sight, but one of them came back with me and we continued to talk as we moved down the now darkening flood illumined with many lights. This man had been with Margaret Noble (Sister Nivedeta) in her pilgrimages through the Indian villages which she describes so wonderfully in her books. Europeans say that she idealised, and wrote not facts but fairy tales. This man who was with her vouchsafed for the accuracy of her presentation, and told me many things about village life and custom, that did something to disperse the effect which the terrible poverty of the peasants makes upon one, and to show that even their life of ceaseless toil is able to produce loveliness and beauty.

The day had given me one of those glimpses of the soul of India which it is hard for anyone of another race to get. Yet there are ideas which make all races one. Once when I was given a reception in Calcutta a group of girls sang a song written and composed by the poet Rabindranath Tagore, and the gist of it was that though we were of different blood and spoke a different earthly language, we had met and conversed in heaven, and because we were moved by the same ideas we were not strangers, but heavenly friends. Speaking of Tagore brings me to describe the day that we spent at his home, which is also the school and University founded by his father 40 years ago, and developed by the poet recently into an International Centre of Research work, the various students there are specially seeking the secret of the unity of Asiatic culture, and are translating many manuscripts hitherto lost to memory. They will seek ultimately the union of all that is fundamental in the culture of the East and the West.

An hour or two in the train from Calcutta brought us to the junction and from there we took a local train to the little country station of Bolpur. Here we were met by a motor omnibus and conveyed to the Tagore estate which includes 700 acres in its area, to the Guest House called Santi Niketan i.e. the Home of Peace. This Guest House has been built over the spot where many years ago the Poet’s father came, having retired from the affairs of life. Here on this broad plateau, removed from sights or sounds of the world, he pitched his little hut, and gave himself up to meditation. The spirit of peace and of loving gracious hospitality pervades the place.

According to ancient Indian tradition still living in the Indian heart, the guest is “Atithi devobhava” the “guest divine” or the symbol of divine visitation.

The Poet Tagore has written “The guest brings to our house the great ideal of the spiritual unity of all human beings: It is not the guest who is under an obligation but the householder”. This is the spirit of Indian hospitality in general and of Santi Niketan in particular.

We were at once shown to the little suite of rooms set aside for us and after we had shaken off the dust of the journey we were served with tea. We were then taken round the School, Library, Art and Music Departments by a very gracious young Professor, and were brought back to our rooms for an hour of rest. We were then taken to the Poet who received us with warmest and kindest welcome, taking both our hands in his two hands. We talked awhile, and then were taken to the staff and students who had assembled on the wide roof for a talk from the Labour M.P. and after a very interesting question and answer discussion we came back to [about four illegible words] “Guru-daio” which is Tagore’s title amongst his students. It means Spiritual Guide or Divine Teacher, which indeed he is. We were perfectly charmed with him. He is a very beautiful and lovely person, his aristocratic face and his abundant silky white hair combed back from the forehead, and his young eyes and delicate sensitive hands, all these make a most worshipful presence. He is very simple and gentle and childlike and warmly gracious, and his mind is open to all beings and ideas which I found quite surprising. He is a keen Feminist and related with much quiet fun how he had written at the request of the women students a drama without a solitary male character in it (“doesn’t that rather please you!?”) and described with enthusiasm how beautifully the girls had acted in it. He spoke with astonishing understanding of the very controversial question of Birth-Control and his delightful talk was full of the spirit of youth. He is deeply alive to the unimaginative character of all burocracies†, and deeply grieved over circumstances in India that I cannot enter into here, but even in his criticism is humourous† and full of understanding. Indeed he seemed to us, the incarnation of deep ripe wisdom, and we bathed in it as in the light of a tropical full moon.

The electric plant on the estate had long ceased to work and the lights had gone out before we said goodnight, to walk back under a starry sky, with a bearer carrying a lantern to our feet. Next morning we were awake at 6 o’cl. with the birds singing and the sun shining, and after early breakfast we were taken in a motor car to see the Rural Construction side of the Foundation. This is no less than an attempt to carry out an experiment that if successful will enable the peasant without artificial irrigation, and without expensive implements, to raise 3 crops a year in the same soil, and also to develop useful handicrafts, such as spinning, weaving, tanning, and carpentry, that can be practised in the house in the hot season, when work on the land is impossible, and can also be done without expensive appliances, but with home-made tools. The model farm, including agriculture, intensive culture of vegetables, and dairy farm is excellent, and all immensely interesting. Everybody is so keen and works with so much harmony and pride in the result of their work. The teachers and students go out regularly into 20 villages to teach the people how to work to abolish their extreme poverty, and also to teach them by demonstration how to get rid of the plague of malaria and many other preventable diseases. They cleanse the water supply, clear the village of stagnant water and of approaching jungle, and perform many kinds of very helpful service. The son-in-law of Tagore is on the present Government Agricultural Commission. The ultimate aim is the growth of this movement to National magnitude: it is the contribution of the University to the problem of peasant poverty and misery.

You can have no idea how beautiful the early morning in this great plateau was. It seemed to have an Eden freshness and sweetness. Beautiful birds flew about in the trees, peacocks strutted, and above all human beings in all the sweetness of their early morning meditation greeted us with gracious looks. Several students came into the main office of this agricultural side, and sat down and waited for a speech just as the students on the literary side had gathered on the roof the night before, for a talk from the Labour M.P. We spoke of the oneness of all thought and work, the oneness without division of the spirit that is in us—because just at that moment we were realising it deeply. We then came back to take leave of the “Guru-daio” the presiding genius of all the activities of the place, and again he was most dear and gracious, and then after a most delicious breakfast that we found awaiting us, we set forth upon our journey.

The next objective was a re-visitation of the supernal Taj Mahal. And this reminds me that on the evening while dining with Tagore, we heard that he had written a beautiful poem about the Taj. It was in Bengali of course, as yet untranslated. We urged him to read it and translate it for us, which he was naturally a little reluctant to do, for words are his music and poetry is untranslatable. But he consented. It was lovely to hear his own speech, it was music as he gave forth the cadences. And then he slowly translated, feeling for the English words with eyes shut, and a dreamy light on his face. The one main idea of all remains with me—that glory, might, majesty, dominion, kingdom in Empire pass away as though they had never been and not one iota remains—but the sorrow of a great love had been transformed into immortal beauty and become “a tear on the cheek of eternity”.

We spent the next afternoon and evening renewing our delight, and bathing ourselves in the beauty of the Taj. We took a boat on the Jumna which flows under the wall on the north side and watched the afternoon light playing upon it, and saw it reflected in the river. Then we landed and watched the sun set, and lingered on and on until the light died out, except where concentrated on the white marble domes and minarets; and the flame of the lamps of the interior shrine flickered through the screens. The white ethereal beauty was reflected entire in the water garden, as we went away by the great South gate, leaving with us a vision of beauty which we shall never forget.

We left Agra last night to journey to the ancient city of Jaipur and have here met with some unique experiences, which must be told in another letter.

We leave Bombay in ten days from now and shall be home all being well on about February 3rd or 4th, well in time for the opening of Parliament on the 8th. We shall spend three or four days in Egypt, to get another look (after 20 years) at the Sphinx, and the great Pyramids and to stay two days with friends in Alexandria.

We look forward with great pleasure to seeing our friends again, and we send them our warmest greeting and good wishes.

Yours,
EMMELINE PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

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† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

11 Old Square, London, W.C.2.—Encloses a printed letter (see 6/135) embodying his impressions of the political and social problems of India.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original.)

Printed circular letter by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

S.S. ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’.—Summarises the views of the Hindu, Mohammedan, and English communities regarding India’s problems. The main obstacles to home rule, as he sees it, are the Indian army, the Indian states, and Hindu-Mohammedan animosity. States his own views on self-government, untried prisoners, labour conditions, education, and health.

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

2 Willingdon Crescent, New Delhi.—The Cabinet mission have met with the Executive Council, the Viceroy, and the Provincial Governors. Discussions proper begin next week, but Gandhi has been invited for a preliminary chat. Has engaged to dine with Agatha Harrison and Mrs Naidu.

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Transcript

2 Willingdon Crescent {1}
Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi

Mch 28. 46

My dear.

Since I wrote to you last my days have been more & more crowded up with engagements & I have had very little time to myself. We have been getting down to the main task of the mission & there is very little to tell you except wht has probably appeared in the British Press. We saw the V’s Executive Council on Tuesday {2} and after several talks with the V himself we saw the Provincial Governors for 4 hours this afternoon & are to see them again for 2 or 3 hours tomorrow morning {3}. Next week we are to start on the “discussions” proper on Monday {4} & they will continue for a fortnight. Among our visitors will be Gandhi {5} & I have invited him to come to this house for a previous chat a day or two before the formal interview.

The cool spell which we struck in Delhi has passed & we are now experiencing the normal weather of the year rising from about 80º to 90º. This is by no means unbearable but we are threatened with a further rise of 20º to 30º later on. It is all dry heat which is a great mercy.

I have taken to having a walk before breakfast about 7.30 to 8. Then to walk to my office through the V’s garden (about 10 min). I dont walk again till evening & then only if I have time.

I am looking forward to having a letter from you soon. I think you will probably find tht sending to the India Office as EK {6} does is better for I have already had several letters from her.

We have Agatha Harrison coming to dinner to night & tomorrow Mrs Sarojini Naidu. Saturday is a day with no engagements fixed at present & Sunday I am hoping Gandhi will be able to come at 7. PM.

Dear old Sweetheart I hope you are enjoying your dear self. It will be a great delight to come back to you but tht is a long way off yet.

Your own precious love
Boy.

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

{1} This line of the address is handwritten.

{2} 26 March.

{3} Notes of these meetings are printed in The Transfer of Power, vol. vii (Nos. 6, 7, 14, 17, and 20).

{4} 1 April.

{5} Gandhi’s name is written in large letters.

{6} Esther Knowles.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

2 Willingdon Crescent, New Delhi.—Has dined with Mrs Naidu, and is seeing Gandhi on Monday. Cripps met Jinnah today. The most pressing issues are the Hindu-Muslim dispute over Pakistan, and the time gap before independence. Is going to a Quaker service tomorrow, which Jinnah and Nehru are expected to attend.

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Transcript

2 Willingdon Crescent {1}
Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi

March 30. 46

Dearest.

It has been a very great pleasure to me to get your letter dated Mch 23 & to hear all your news about golf & the garden. Incidentally it marks the contrast between England & India when you speak with satisfaction about the the winter being nearly past & the summer being at hand, while we are rather regretting that summer is upon us & with its coming the flowers (we are told) wither away. Also 95º in the day & 67º at night is quite manageable but an advance of a further 10º or 20º is not an entrancing prospect. However I have still some reductions of cloth-ing to be made & I am not at all alarmed at the prospect. As a matter of fact I seem to have brought exactly the right things away with me.

We are on the threshold of the real purpose of our coming here. Mrs Naidu dined with us last night—still full of energy & fun at 67. We explored some of the ground. I gave her greeting from you. Gandhi has agreed to come here on Monday evening {2} to see me. Stafford Cripps saw Jinnah today. We have to build bridges over two gaps (1) the Hindu-Moslem dispute over Pakistan (2) the time gap between now & the full realisation of independence by India.

So far this first week has produced as much fruit as could be reasonably xpected, but the real test is to come. I remain an optimist. Both the Mission & the V seem to be agreed tht I shd do most of the talking to all the people who come to the discussions. It is a great responsibility but I am fortified by their confidence in me.

I am going to a quaker service in Delhi tomorrow & I understand Jinnah & Nehru are both xpected to be there. Later I am proposing to have a drive in my car[,] getting back in time to see someone @ 6. o’c.

My dear love to you
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘xpected’ for ‘expected’.

{1} This line of the address is handwritten.

{2} 1 April.

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.—It is very hot. He has allowed the probable date of their departure to leak out in order to help the parties take definite decisions. A possible date for election to the constituent assembly is being canvassed in some provinces.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 6. 46

My dear.

It is certainly very hot. 112º maximum in the day is bad enough but 93º minimum in the night is worse, in spite of air conditioning & fan. Last night, almost for the first time, I was a little rest-less & about 4 o’c I went into my bathroom & got into a bath of wht does duty for cold water (a few degrees below blood heat) & lay down in it. I dozed off & dreamt tht you & I were driving down from Mascot to Dorking Station in a horse-drawn fly of Bucklands. We agreed tht at our age (our present age) there was something to be said for this placid method of progression. This pleasant little dream so soothed me tht when I got back into bed I slept peacefully till I was called for at 6.30.

I have no fresh news to give you about our plans. I have purposely allowed our intention of leaving about June 15 to leak out as I think it may help the parties to take definite decisions. A possible date for election to the Constituent Assembly is being canvassed in some of the provinces, & no objected has been xpressed. By the time you receive this letter which can hardly be before Tuesday 11th, you may be able to glean from the papers the likely course of events. As soon as anything specific has been decided no doubt the India Office will learn it & will communicate with Esther.

Apart from being homesick I confess to being a little weary but I can certainly stick it another 10 days or fortnight or even a little longer if really necessary. But my feeling is tht there is no real advantage to be gained by being willing to prolong our stay beyond a certain point & I still hope to be able to get off on 15th, & I am making all my preliminary preparations on this assumption.

My dear I love you so & I long to be with you again.

Your own loving
Boy.

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This letter includes the abbreviated forms ‘tht’ for ‘that’, ‘wht’ for ‘what’, and ‘xpressed’ for ‘expressed’.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The weather is cooler. The Muslim League have accepted the plan for constitution-making, and Congress may do so, but there may be a dispute about the interim Government. Discusses their date of departure and related arrangements.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Congress will probably reject the plans for an interim Government, though it is doubtful what they will do about the constituent assembly. The date of his departure is likely to be deferred again. Lady Cripps has been recalled to England because her daughter is ill.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 24. 46

My dearly Beloved.

I have your letter of June 19 {1} before me as I write. It is indeed for both of us a trial of pa-tience. These people talk & deliberate with a sense of all eternity in front of them. Their promise of a decision are postponed from day to day & the chance of a satisfactory one ebbs & ebbs. It is now as certain as anything can be in this uncertain land tht Congress will reject the plans for an interim Governt. What they will do about the Constituent Assembly is at the moment of writing still in doubt. But my hopes are not very high. Some time I will tell you much about it. But people start coming to interview us at 7 AM, & the last doesnt leave much before midnight. And nothing whatever comes of it! And the heat is stifling.

In my last letter to EK I told her tht I expected to be leaving here on Thursday or Friday. But delays & delays & delays make this now unlikely. Nevertheless I still hope to get away within a few days from now. But it may be again a case of hope deferred.

Lady Cripps having been called out here to a sick husband is being recalled to a still more sick daughter. So her case is far far worse than ours. I am terribly sorry for her.

I am glad tht Doty continues to go from triumph to triumph. It is good tht life contains these days of exuberant satisfaction.

I kiss you my beloved. I love you & adore you.

Your very own
Boy.

You may care to see the enclosed from Lord Halifax to whom I wrote about his OM. Keep it among my letters to you.

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

{1} PETH 8/85.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Congress has rejected the plan for an interim Government but accepted a long-term plan for constitution-making. They plan to leave on Friday.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 25. 46

My darling.

Congress today turned down the plan for interim Govt but accepted a long-term plan for Constitution Making.

The result though nt as good as at one time seemed possible is a considerable achievement for which I am profoundly thankful.

Our present idea is to start from here on Friday & if tht is adhered to we should be in London on Monday Afternoon July 1. In tht case this will probably be the last letter tht I shall write to you before I start.

If it all works out as I have said, my joy at the prospect of seeing you again is overwhelming.

Kisses & love

From your very own
Boy.

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This letter includes the abbreviated forms ‘tht’ for ‘that’ and ‘nt’ for ‘not’.

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