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Carbon copy of a letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Miles Malleson

Agrees in deploring the suppression of artistic works. The seizure of Malleson’s plays is evidence of their power to kindle the imagination.

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Transcript

31st. October, 1916.

Dear Mr. Malleson,

Yes alas—when I sent round next morning after writing my letter to you to purchase copies of your Plays to send away to my friends, my messenger was told that it was too late[,] that the Authorities had descended upon the publisher and seized every copy. I agree with you that there is something very menacing indeed in the fact that even {1} the work of an artist is subject to suppression. I think it is one of the most serious dangers with which any Community could be confronted. I see that a question is to be asked in Parliament to-day. I am of course extremely sorry that I did not read the Play at once and secure additional copies. I congratulate you again on having written them. The very fact that they have been suppressed is in itself an evidence of the power that is in them to kindle the imagination.

You won’t forget your promise to write to me in a day or two to fix an afternoon when you could look in and see me, or ring me up over the telephone.

Yours with all good wishes,
[blank]

Miles Malleson Esq.,
“The Attic”,
43, Bernard Street,
Russell Sqre. W.C.

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{1} Mistyped ‘thateven’.

Letter from Miles Malleson to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Attic’, 43 Bernard Street, Russell Square, W.C.—His plays have been seized by the Government. He hopes some protest can be made if they are destroyed.

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Transcript

‘The Attic’, 43 Bernard Street, Russell Square, W.C.
Oct: 27/16.

Dear Mrs Pethwick Lawrence

Thank you so very much indeed for your letter about the plays. It is good to know that people like you think that they might be of some use.

But alas—yesterday the War Office or Home Office (I do not know yet by whose authority) descended upon Hendersons the publishers and seized every copy. They have forbidden its distribution or sale. And there for the present the matter stands! Needless to day I am not particularly concerned for myself whether they prosecute for the sin of having written them—but I do hope, if they destroy them, that some protest can be made. Here we are at a most critical period in history—at the very cross-roads—& we have to face all the extraordinary difficulties & dangers of the years of crisis without freedom of speech or expression one to another. Some friends in the Commons are making enquiries for me—& the Council for Civil Liberties have been told.

I shall look forward to meeting you soon. I will write if I may in a few days to fix an afternoon when I know what the next move in this suppression is to be. Again—thanks for your letter

Yours sincerely,
Miles Malleson

Letter from Edward Carpenter to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Millthorpe, Holmesfield, near Sheffield.—Explains why he opposes the granting of universal suffrage to British women at present.

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Transcript

Millthorpe, Holmesfield, near Sheffield
12 Oct 1916

Dear Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence

Do excuse my long delay in replying to yours of the 28th ult:, but I find it very difficult to keep up with my correspondence!

Of course I remember you very well and have often wished to meet you again, but our paths do not often cross.

With regard to the Adult Suffrage question, though I certainly favour it for Men in this Country I am quite doubtful whether it is wise to open the Vote out so rapidly & suddenly for Women—who so far have had little or no experience in the matter, and of whom we have so little experience as to how they will act. Considering the enormous preponderance of Women in numbers, combined with the fact that the mass of women at present (and in this Country) are so easily swept up, as one’s experience shows, by any specious and glib-tongued man(!)—as by clergymen, ministers, titled folk and the like—and might easily with a little scheming be taken in flocks to the polls—I think the experiment on the proposed scale is at least a little rash.

Of course I am speaking of the working class women I know, up here in the North, and of the middle class women generally. What I say does not apply to the ‘advanced’ women—but then what proportion are they of the population—1/10th or 1/100th or 1/1000th?

I should feel quite differently in the U.S. for instance where the general level of alertness & education is greatly different from here; and I have a good hope that even here the rising tide may make the universal suffrage feasible in what people call “the near future”—but you see I am cautious, and think we ought to hasten slowly.

At any rate you understand that though I appreciate much the invitation to join the National Council for A.S. I do not feel at present disposed to do so. Though I wish the movement all success—esp[ecia]lly in its educative rôle—I do not feel drawn just now to give my time & energy to it.

Excuse my rather hasty & halting explanations, and with the expression of my gratitude to you for the good work you are doing in the cause of Democracy—believe me

Yours very sincerely

Edwd. Carpenter

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

Confidential

Feb. 18. 1947.

Dearest,

Last week in London there developed trouble between Lydia & the staff there. As usual I played her cards badly—but realizing this, in order to save me & you any disturbance, she went to the War Office on Thursday {1}, was very warmly welcomed there & obtained priority for the next Boat train for N. Africa leaving London on March 6th & also a promise of a job under the War Department immediately on her arrival there. She could not get the opportunity or courage to tell me until yesterday. On my acceptance of this solution, she is today clinching the arrangement with the War Office.

You are the only person who has come near to any understanding of the very real & deep bond that exists for ever between Lydia & myself. It defies all analysis. There is nothing of a physical nature or demand about it. The nearest analogy is that of the bond between the “Seeing Eye Dog” & his blind Master. In my almost complete deafness which prevents me from hearing the phone bell in my own room, & with my increasing difficulty in movement, Lydia is my irreplac[e]able support. I shall miss her desperately. There are many who love me devotedly, but there is nobody else, whose supreme delight & one object in life are to be with me to foresee & supply every smallest need. I know all her faults pathologic & psychic, and I know all her extraordinary & unique qualities. She has played her cards very badly, (as I tell her) but such things as tampering with my correspondence are far removed from possibility & so are other faults of which she has been suspected & accused. Over-devotion to our interests had led to ill-judged action. Her latest decisive move has been taken solely with a view to our interest. It is of such dual natures that the stuff of tragic drama is made. They are born, fated. The rationally-minded are quite incapable of dealing with them. But for the strain of Mysticism in you, you would have attempted in all good intention to put an end before now to the situation. As it is, she has put an end to it, herself. Her only condition is that if I were ill—mortally ill—she should be sent for. That is my wish also. I feel that I could not die in peace without her hand in mine.

Emmeline

It is one thing to meet these conflict-problems in Greek Drama. Quite another thing to confront them in flesh & blood. I thank God for all I have read & all I have experienced, which have enabled me so far to avoid fatal error.

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{1} 13th.

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