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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.—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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Transcript

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.—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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Transcript

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 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

S.S. ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’.—Describes his and his wife’s meetings with Bose, Gandhi, and Tagore, their visits to Jaipur, Udaipur, and Ahmedabad, and their return to Bombay. Encloses a printed letter (6/135) recording his political impressions of India.—(Later.) His wife’s sudden illness compelled them to abandon their intended visit to Egypt.

(Mechanical copy of a typed original. The postscript was written after the Pethick-Lawrences’ return to England.)

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Transcript

P & O. S. N. Co.,
S.S. Kaisar-I-Hind.
January 19, 1927.

Three men in India stand out head and shoulders above the rest—Gandhi, Tagore, and Sir Jagadis Bose. We were fortunate in knowing all of them before we went out to India, and during the last few weeks of our stay there we had the opportunity of renewing our acquaintance.

We went to lunch with Sir J. Bose in Calcutta on our way to Gauhati. He has a wonderful Institute, buildings and lecture room in front and a beautiful garden court behind. He showed us many fascinating experiments. A plant feeding and automatically ringing a bell with each gulp of food; shading the plant from sunlight the gulps become less and less frequent. A plant’s pulse beating; poison supplied at the root the pulse dies down; restoratives supplied, the plant recovers. But Bose is not merely the world-famous plant physiologist, he is also a great artist, philosopher and patriot, and his explanations of the panels on the walls of his house were full of poetry and beauty.

Gandhi we met at Gauhati, in simplicity of life reminding us forcibly of John the Baptist. Dress a single loin cloth, food the humble fruits of the earth. Surrounded everywhere by hundreds or thousands of devoted followers to whom he is a Mahatma he remains a quiet unassuming man without the slightest pose of saintliness. He discussed mundane affairs quite simply with us in his tiny hut and told us that though on the surface things were not going exactly as his intellect would like, deep down in his consciousness he was content that all was well.

Tagore we went specially to see at his University a hundred miles away from Calcutta. He is a superb figure with his gracious smile and wide understanding and acceptance of life. Very different from the austere personality of Gandhi yet to him equally the spiritual life is the fountain spring of being. Learning, poetry, social service are the channels through which the living water pours out to sustain humanity. Yet a child would have no embarrassment in his presence and the laugh of the poet and of his little playmate would ring out happily together.

Tagore’s University is two sided. One half is for Literae humanae, and here are priceless manuscripts of Sanskrit and ancient Chinese; the other half is intensely practical, the actual demonstration of improved methods of agriculture and simple preventive medicines.

We left with reluctance and sped away westward to have another glimpse of the exquisite Taj at Agra and on from there to visit some of the native States of Rajputana. The rapid fall in temperature coupled with our early arrival at Jaipur (4.27 a.m.) gave us both bad colds but in other respects we were in luck’s way, for in view of the impending visit of the Crown Prince of Sweden all the glory of Jaipur was prepared for display. Enormous State elephants with faces and ears painted with lovely floral designs, solemn bullocks decked out in red and gold cloths, disdainful camels, soldiers in chain armour riding horses padded against primitive weapons—all passed us by in gorgeous procession, first in rehearsal and next day in actual display before the royal guest. Then there were jewels—strings of pearls the size of filberts, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, jade of matchless size and splendour. Next an amazing collection of old Indian paintings. Finally ancient carpets of fabulous worth, and shawls and saris of cashmere and silk exquisite in delicacy and in colour. Of all these we were afforded a special private view in company with the Councillors of State.

After Jaipur, Udaipur, where we were guests of the State and were taken to wondrous palaces enshrined on islands in a lustrous lake. Here Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj, spent his youth exiled by his father, but guest of the Maharana of Udaipur.

The glory of princes is not incompatible with—alas it is often built upon—the poverty of the country side. In Rajputana we introduced ourselves to some of a group of social reformers who are seeking to improve the lot of the peasant, and learnt something of their story. One we tried to interview in the Udaipur jail, but permission was not granted to us and in view of the shortness of our stay we could not press our request.

From Udaipur we went to Ahmedabad where we found one of the few well run Trade Unions in India with a woman as its leading spirit—Miss Anasuya Surabhai—a very remarkable personality who has fought many a battle for freedom both for her sex and for Labour. We also ran out to Gandhi’s “Ashram” a kind of college or fraternity for students. The Mahatma himself was away but his brother showed us over and instructed us in the cottage spinning and weaving which are specialities of Gandhi’s national revival.

From Ahmedabad back to Bombay to the charming roof-flat overlooking the city, the home of our friend Sheldon Bunting where we were entertained as happily as on our first arrival in India. One morning I visited a mill, and went on to see the so-called dwellings—insanitary pigsties would be a more nearly accurate description—in which many of the workers live, I also visited the 16,500 “model” tenements of which because they are uncomfortable, inaccessible, and financially beyond the reach of the workers, no less than 13,500 are untenanted! One day Emmeline addressed a meeting. We also lunched with the Governor and had an interesting talk with him.

We are now on the Kaisar-I-Hind sailing homewards. The Crown Prince of Sweden is on board and has won good opinions among the passengers by his unceremonious behaviour.

I have already written a special letter dealing with all my political impressions which owing to its unusual length and importance I am having printed. I am arranging for a copy to be enclosed with this letter {1}. I have a number of extra copies so if you would like one or more to give to your friends and will let me know, I will send them on as far as available.

Fascinating as our time has been it will be delightful to be home once more among all our friends.

F. W. PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

P.S. Since the above was written after our return to the ship from visiting the famous tanks at Aden, Emmeline contracted a germ which laid her unexpectedly low and made me exceedingly anxious. We abandoned our proposed visit to Egypt, and it was still not possible to land when we reached Marseilles. We accordingly continued on the boat to Plymouth and by the time we reached there her recovery was fortunately nearly complete. She will rest a few days in Weston-super-Mare before returning to London. Fortunately we were blest with beautiful weather the whole of the voyage.

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{1} PETH 6/135.

† Sic.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Has spoken with Gandhi, who sends greetings. The Cabinet mission may go to Kashmir for a brief Easter holiday.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, Delhi
April 2 46

Darling

A brief line in the middle of a v. busy week.

A delightful talk with Gandhi last night. Nothing definite of course but just the establishment of mutual goodwill. He specially asked me to send you greetings.

It has been suggested we might go to Cashmir for a brief Easter holiday. It sounds attractive.

My dear love
Boy

Temperature reached 98º yesterday but only 60º at night. I am very well.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

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

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Transcript

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

My beloved.

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

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

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

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

My fond love to my darling
Boy

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

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

{1} 21 April.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

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

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Transcript

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

My very own darling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boy.

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

{1} See PETH 6/159.

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

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceregal Lodge, Simla.—Describes his journey to Simla and the situation of the Lodge. Jinnah will not arrive till Saturday, so talks will not begin till Sunday. Sends his love for their anniversary of 12 May. Four of his colleagues have just celebrated birthdays.

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Transcript

Viceregal Lodge, Simla
May 1, 46.

My dear.

This is certainly a most wonderful place and I am glad I have not missed seeing it. This particular house is perched upon a hill in Simla (which is, by the way, all hills) & there is a panoramic view all round. But while at Fways the view extends for 2 or 3 miles, here it is 50, 100, & in some directions I should think 150 miles. There are snow mountains dividing us from Kashmir & snow mountains dividing us from Tibet. We are about 7000 feet up.

I dined with Jinnah last night & met his sister who is very like him—they both look very tall but tht is because they are thin with aquiline faces. In reality they are only 5’9” & 5’ 4”. Jinnah says he cant get here till Saturday & we shant begin our talks till Sunday, so we shall nt have very much to do the next 3 days.

We got up @ 5.30 this morning, breakfasted 6.15, started 7, left aerodrome at 7.30[,] reached Amballa at 8.30 & then came up here 94 miles in motor cars, the last 55 miles being a steady climb. Most of the cars broke down on the way. I came with the Viceroy. I smelt something like a leather clutch burning some time before we pulled up. The sun is quite hot up here but the air is cool & refreshing. There is a billiard table in the house & a putting golf course in the garden.

The house itself is much less grandiose than the one at Delhi; all the same I have a very large sitting room & another large bedroom & 2 verandahs with glorious views.

I dont know how long this letter will take to reach you but I expect is wont go off till tomorrow & then it will take a day to Delhi, so tht you wont get it much before our May 12. In spite of all the beauty here I do wish I was with you for our festival. You will have to have the salmon & the gooseberry tart with friends & waft a greeting to me as I shall to you my beloved. 45 years ago since the original May 12, & I love my darling more deeply than ever. Kiss all the flowers for me at Fourways. Give my love to May & Lydia & to the girls in London & to the folk at Peaslake.

Last Wednesday was Stafford Cripps birthday, yesterday was Turnbulls, & today Alexanders[,] & Sunday is the Viceroys {1}. But I am sticking to soft drinks which suit me better. I am still exceptionally well though I dont xpect to sleep as well at this height as I have done in Delhi. You know neither of us ever did when we were in Switzerland.

The political situation here moves slowly forward to a climax which I cant predict. I am afraid the Palestine Report will greatly upset the Moslems.

All my love
Boy

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

{1} ‘& Sunday is the Viceroys’ was inserted slightly later.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

[Viceregal Lodge, Simla.]—Meetings with members of Congress and the Muslim League have begun. They will probably return to Delhi in about nine or ten days. Describes an excursion into the country and other activities. Refers to her letter in The Times.

(Letter-head of the Office of Cabinet Delegation at New Delhi, but evidently written at Simla.)

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Transcript

May 5 46

My dear.

Motor cars, rickshaws, ponies have brought the members of Congress & Muslim league to join us in discussion here, & one day I will tell you all the behind-the-scene details of the Alice-in-Wonderland’s croquet party which it involves. However the first day has gone off fairly well & if we are no nearer agreement at least we know more accurately where they all stand & wht we have to do about it.

I am still clinging to the hope tht I may be back for 26 May but it will be a near thing at best & it may well be tht I have to stay in India right on into June. We shall probably return to Delhi in about 9 or 10 days fm now. I expect you will hear all about it on the wireless. I went for a little walk from here a few minutes after the meeting dispersed & heard as I passed in a cottage a wireless report of it on the 6 o’c news.

We had a real holiday the first day after we got here & drove through Simla on the road when the milestone read 190 miles to Thibet! About 4 miles the other side of Simla we turned off the main road & then walked to a fascinating cottage facing the mountains & out on the lawn we had a picnic lunch. Walking back part of the way we encountered a troop of monkeys in the tree tops jumping from branch to branch. One, a young mother, had a baby tucked under one arm but jumped with the rest. Our bedroom windows are covered with wire netting so tht monkeys cant get in when the window is open, but I havent seen many in these grounds.

Since Thursday {1} I have been very busy but I have arranged to get some walks & some games of golf. There are shots over walls & all sorts of hazards which the Viceroy & his one-armed son {2} negotiate to perfection; & nearly every night I play a game of billiards on a rather ancient table with uncertain balls & rather crooked cues. Sometimes the whole company looks on. It is the Viceroys birthday today & I proposed his health.

I have had 2 letters from you full of good things {3}. I had missed your excellent letter in th Times {4}. You shd have received my letter about Kashmir {5} the day after your second one was written.

We had a thunderstorm on Friday afternoon & evening all over the ranges & ranges of hills that ring this place. It was really very wonderful & brought down the air temperature to a moderately wam English summer day.

All my love to my own darling & if 12th May hasnt actually passed when you get this my special love for tht.

Just Your own
Little Boy

I am very well & sleeping well.

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The address printed on the writing-paper is ‘Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi’, but the letter was clearly written at Simla. There are a number of characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 2nd.

{2} Archibald, later the 2nd Earl.

{3} These letters have not survived.

{4} The reference is to a letter published in The Times on 25 April (p. 5), appealing for donations to provide personnel to assist in famine relief in India. The letter was subscribed by Lady Pethick-Lawrence, Elizabeth M. Cadbury, T. Edmund Harvey, Lord Lindsay of Birker, and Carl Heath, and contributions were to be sent to the Friends Service Council.

{5} PETH 6/162, dated 19–24 April.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceregal Lodge, Simla.—The talks may be over by the time she receives this letter, but that will not be the end of the mission. Last night he attended a cocktail party given by service officers on leave. Discusses his usual recreations and the local scenery.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reflects on the colourfulness of Indian life. The mission are awaiting the results of their statement, and he has made his broadcast and addressed the press.—(Later.) Jinnah threatens not to answer for three or four weeks, but others have made encouraging signs.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 18. 46

My own very dear Beloved.

I have had to say to myself tht it is no good letting my heart or my head be obsessed with the idea tht I want to be home for 26th May. I came out here to do a certain job & I have just got to stay till it’s finished; & that’s that. As soon as it is finished I shall come home as fast as I can, you may be sure, to be with my old love again, & the day I come back & see you whatever it be according to the calendar will be our 26th May—our 45th anniversary!

I am so delighted to hear in your letters of how full your days have been with pleasurable activity. It is music in my ears; for I do so love to know tht you are enjoying yourself.

As for me my life here is full of colour & experience. Colour on the physical plane. The powerful sun, the flaming trees, the flashing birds, the darting chipmunks & lizards. The trees are red (Gold Mahar), gold (Cassia Sistilla) & apple-blossom tinted (Cassia Nodosa). Colourful personalities Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Wavell[,] to say nothing of people like Meliscent Shepherd, Mrs Naidu, Agatha Harrison & our own delegations & the secretaries.

So far in all the “changing vicissitudes of this mortal life” I have been upheld to keep my balance & my health. I eat well, digest well, sleep well & remain unfretted, remembering as Maud {1} said in Kashmir tht it is nt I that am doing it but He.

So my beloved I am patient & I am sure you will be also to await the day of our recession when it comes in His good will. I do not think it will be so very long before the work is finished here but it is still quite impossible to say.

Our D-day has come & gone, & we are awaiting its result. Our message {2} has not so far evoked any violent antagonism. I have made my broadcast {3}[,] addressed my press conference, met individual editors & so far it has been sunny weather. All this may be dashed at any minute but let us at any rate bask in the sunshine while it lasts!

Evening. As I anticipated, some clouds have darkened the sun & Jinnah threatens not to give us an answer for 3 or 4 weeks! {4} I really don’t know what to make of it. But there are still many encouraging signs. Brailsford, Sapru & many others have sent us delightfully enthusiastic congratulations. At the moment it looks as if Congress will come in. I see Lord Samuel spoke some very kind words about me in the H of Lords on Thursday May 16. I hope you got a copy.

And so my darling, my true heart, my beloved, my dear Wife I send you my love & blessing for May 26.

Your very own loving Boy.

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

{1} Maud Coote.

{2} The statement by the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy, published on the 16th. See Transfer of Power, vol. vii, No. 303.

{3} Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 303.

{4} See Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 322. The word ‘weeks’ is underlined three times.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Urges her not to postpone her holiday. Gives an account of his meeting with the folk-song collector.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 14. 46

My dear

I have just had a letter from you dated June 11 {1} in which you speak of possibly putting off your trip to Isle of Wight so as not to miss my homecoming. I hope you will not do this because it is still quite uncertain as to when I shall be able to get away. And you really need not be worried if when it comes to it you have to keep your room in I o W waiting for a day or two. I think you & I are entitled to a little personal life (even if we are keeping others out of a room for a day or two) after all that we have gone through.

As far as I can see the earliest likely date for me to get away is the middle of next week & I may be here for another fortnight. You ought to know for certain about a week before I am actually due to arrive. Our political barometer here continues to go up & down.

I had a most interesting evening last night. A Dutchman who has been collecting Indian folk songs came & sang a great many to me. Mrs Naidu was there. The songs were weird but fascinating. He ended up with our English one “Bold Fisherman”.

All my love
Boy.

I kiss you dear Sweetheart! I am very well.

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{1} PETH 8/80.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Fourways, Gomshall, Surrey.—Has been reflecting on memories of their courtship. Is delighted that she is making such a good recovery.

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Transcript

Fourways, Gomshall, Surrey
Aug 14. 50

My dear.

I have just been listening to the beautiful & stirring music of Wagner. It has brought back to me old memories & the thoughts of how our love for one another was so closely intertwined with Tannhauser, the Ring and the Meistersinger.

I am so overjoyed tht you are making such a wonderful recovery. Soon after you come back to Fourways we shall be celebrating our 49th wedding day, & from then on begins our fiftieth year together. First will come your birthday but I dont think I knew about that fifty years ago. Nor did you know of the date of mine. But you went specially to the pillar box at Friday Street on Dec 27 to post me a letter and it arrived on my birthday morning!

Then we come to the fiftieth anniversaries of our May 12 & May 26 & how on May 27 you and I went together to Paddington to take “our” seat for you on the train to Weston.

Later I went with you to stay at Trewartha {1} & became one of your family. I came to Broadmoor and Littlehampton. We took Clements Inn and the Dutch House tht we rechristened the Mascot. We engaged Rapley who is still our faithful retainer.

Then on October 2 we had our simple ceremony at the Registry Office & the public function at Canning Town.

All these my darling we have to live over again.

So you can understand how glad your laddie is tht you & I will be hand-in-hand to live over again these great & stirring memories.

When we look around us & see so many marriages from which love has faded out it is a pearl above all price with which we have been blessed this love of our which has endured.

My darling
Your very very own
Boy

I shall post this tomorrow for you to get on Wednesday morning when I am due in Edinburgh.

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

{1} Trewartha, Bristol Road, Weston-super-Mare, the home of Emmeline’s parents.

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