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Letter from Henry D. Harben to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

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Flat 5, 1 Hyde Park Street, W.2
13/9/61

Dear Lady Pethick Lawrence.…

I feel I must write to you about the loss of your husband, which must have been a great sorrow to you; & to assure you of our real sympathy during this week. To me it came as a great shock, as I had not even heard he was ill. He was probably my very oldest friend, & I had known him for well over 70 years. He was Captain of the Oppidans when I was at Eton & though (being much younger than he) I hardly knew him then, we did meet personally several times, because a) we both frequented the School Library, and b) we were both members of the Literary Society. Our real friendship began during the first decade of this century, as I was a great supporter of women’s suffrage & gave large sums to his collections, & also went to prison in 1914. Since then Emmeline & he were among my very dearest friends; we stayed with them when they lived in Holmwood—they stayed with us in Buckinghamshire—& more recently he frequently dined with us in town, & we used often to lunch at the House of Lords. I shall miss him more than I can say, & this week I have thought of little else. His was a very noble mind, & though he never was as far left as I am, it was always a joy & privilege to discuss real questions with him especially economics, which so few of the Labour Party leaders really understand. I was one of the original governors of the London School of Economics, which I helped Sidney Webb to found—so, as well as the Suffrage, we had all that in common.… I remember we dined together the night before he left for India on his great mission, & he said words that I shall never forget. “You & I have both fought for Freedom all our lives; to-morrow I am going to give Freedom to 400 million people.” Dear, dear Fred—his splendid brain, his modest retiring manner, his absolute integrity, were a combination that I have never met in anyone else. God rest his Soul! … Please forgive my unburdening my feelings to you for once

Yours sincerely & affectionately
Henry D. Harben

I need hardly say Miss Mulock joins me in all our feelings of sympathy & friendship to you.

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 Rupert Mayne to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Caltex House, Ballard Estate, Bombay.—Introduces himself as the nephew of the late General Sir Mosley Mayne, a former adviser to Pethick-Lawrence at the India Office. Would like to meet him during his visit to Bombay.

Letter from F. W. Lawrence to Edwin Lawrence

Calcutta.—Congratulates him on his baronetcy. Describes his stay at Muzaffarpur, and refers to his plans to observe the eclipse.

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Transcript

Address c/o Thos Cook & Son
Bombay

Calcutta
Jany 5 98

My dear Uncle.

Hurrah! Just received your telegram & sent off mine. Bravo! Delightful news! I am ashamed to say I had not seen anything of it until I found your wire awaiting me here. I won’t try & put into words the sentiment all must feel, how well it is merited.

In your telegram as it reached me were the words “wire health” so in my reply I have said “excellent health”. I hope this doesn’t mean Harry has got one of his depressed fits on.

In point of fact I am particularly well & the climate at this time of year is delightful, just like an English September at its best, only the sun is rather hotter in the middle of the day.

Very many thanks for all your greetings for Xmas birthday and the New Year; I expect I shall get your special Xmas card in a few days; letters take some time because they go across to Madras first & then come nearly back again & up here, you will see from the heading of this letter that it will be better for them to be forwarded on direct from Bombay when they arrive.

I have written Dora a letter in answer to hers {1}, you will see from that that I have been spending 10 days with W. S. Adie at Mozuffapore which is about 200 miles from here, and to get there one has to cross the Ganges in a steamer. Mozuffapore is quite a large station (some 50 to a hundred Europeans) and I played lawn tennis, racquets & billiards & watched Adie playing polo nearly every day. Then on Xmas day we went to dine with the Collector (head magistrate) and on the Monday following we had a jolly little dance there. Altogether I got to know nearly all the people there & I shall probably go up again 23rd–28th inst when the special Mozuffapore week is on. The station is the centre of indigo planting, & I went over & spent 2 nights with an old Cambridge man who runs a factory. There is nothing going on now, as the indigo is not sown till March, but I saw over the factory, & looked at the fields—all as smooth as a billiard table—& learnt something about the curious sort of life the planter leads. The coolie who works in the fields gets something less than a penny a day.

Everyone here has a servant who looks after things; I have just got one at Cooks, and I have gone with him through all my clothes (I have left my big trunk behind with Campbell); he speaks English which is a blessing & I hope he will prove fairly honest. They are very serviceable when one is travelling, but if one lived very long in this country I am afraid they would make one lazy, as they take off one’s boots for one etc, they also wait at table wherever one is.

Tante asks from where I am going to see the eclipse; to tell the truth I don’t really know, possibly it will be from Buxar where the Bengal Astronomers are going, possibly a little further South where I think Christie & Dr Common are.

I have presented my letters of introduction to the Viceroy & his secretary, & I am going to the Ball to-morrow night, & to an Evening Party next week, & I shall probably see most of Calcutta there.

One more hurrah for yourself, love to Tante (I thought I would wait to write to her till later) & renewed kisses to Dora,

Your affectionate Nephew
Fredk W Lawrence

I have endorsed & returned chq to Sharpe

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{1} This has not survived.

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