Showing 2455 results

Archival description
Image
Print preview View:

2455 results with digital objects Show results with digital objects

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.

—————

{1} 13th.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

June 3. 1946 {1}

My Dearest,

Do not let the delay in your return, give you any idea that you are missing the English summer. May 12 was the last summer day we have had. April was like June. The last 3 weeks have been March, & still, day after day we have gales of wind & storms of rain—sometimes sleet & hail. I read in the Paper today that in June the barometer has been lower than any day since Christmas. Not that we have had much frost. We have a good crop of soft fruit & apples, though no pears or plums. The violent wind tosses the trees & plants, like a storm tosses the waves on the ocean, while the clouds darken the sky. I hope it will be better weather for the Victory Parade {2}. No doubt interest & enthusiasm will work up during the next 5 days, but so far I find no sentiment expressed except disillusion. Even leading articles & Churchill’s speech have to recognize & attempt to deal with public apathy. Guildford & other towns too have refused to co-operate. The public feel that it is an exhibition of futility & waste. London has been much disfigured & spoilt for Londoners. It is not a happy time, & the real tragedy is brought home to people like G. G. {3} who could get no bread on Saturday, because she was too late in going out for it, & no milk because of the strike.

I have had a cable from Madeleine that she is scheduled to arrive in Southampton Dock next Wednesday, June 6th. She will take the train from Southampton to Woking, & on to Guildford where I shall meet her with the car. She has a transitional visa, & can only remain a short time. Probably she will stay at Fourways over Whit Monday, & we shall all go to London on June 11 & 12. I have avoided London for some weeks. There is much to do & see to here. I am giving much attention to the garden, and the little staff here needs a good deal of handling.

I have had very few official invitations during your absence[.] But I had one to meet F. M. Smuts {4}, and as I could not go, I wrote to salute him, and have had a charming personal reply in his own hand writing. I received a letter from Mrs Price Hughes yesterday, to tell me that she is constantly with us both in her thoughts. She is 93, & her writing is as good as ever. We had a very pleasant visit from Stuart & Ruth, though it rained hard all the time. There are 5 of your wild roses out today. I wish I could send you one. Farewell my darling. Keep well & serene, & enjoy the present moment. All here are well. May has arranged to spend a week with Dorothy to make room for Madeleine, should you have been able to get back. You remember we have booked rooms in Ventnor from June 24—July 8. May will stay with Tom & there will be a room for you at the week end or whenever you want it at my Guest House or at the Hotel near Trewartha. If the soft fruit ripens just then, Lydia will want to overlook the bottling, although she can show Violet & leave it to her after one or two experiments.

No food of any kind must be wasted.

And so again God be with thee.

Your own.
Patz

—————

{1} The address printed on the writing-paper is 11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2, but the letter was clearly written at Fourways.

{2} The national Victory Parade, to be held on 8 June.

{3} Probably Gladys Groom.

{4} i.e. Field Marshal Smuts.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

From Lady Pethick Lawrence
Fourways, Gomshall, Surrey.
May 26. 1946.

This is our May 26th Beloved! & I woke early with thoughts of you, & my first action was to go through all your letters since you left me, beginning with with† March and continuing to your last lovely letter of May 18 {1}—up to your direct message of May 23 {2} transmitted to me & received by post from Mr Clausen {3} yesterday May 24. It was a joy to receive that little message & realize that we were so close together in thought, as indeed we are now. My memory goes back to 45 years ago—how very definitely & clearly certain moments in ones life stand isolated, as if they were moments ever-living, regardless of the passing of time. I can see you now clearly as you were then, & realize your gesture as you gathered me up in your arms, & there we were in the old arm-chair in the little room at Somerset Terrace. And now we are together again in a different way, & there are still chapters to be written to our life.

I gather from the broadcast last night as well as from the Times yesterday morning that you have reached that deadpoint of seeming frustration, that we knew had to come. I entirely realize the truth of that word spoken by Maud—“it is not I that am doing anything, but He”[.] {4} In other words I have realized for some time past, that only to a very small & limited extent do we as individual[s] shape events. Events shape destiny. Yet there are moments of definite crisis, when one individual act can influence results for generations—such as the outstanding act of Campbell Bannerman when against popular outcry, he gave the promise of citizenship to the defeated Dutch in S. Africa. He was not as the world estimates character, a “great” personality; yet he did a great deed, inspired by a great conception of democracy.

I wonder if you will read the leading article in The Times of May 24, on Egypt, in which Bevin’s policy in Egypt is unequivocally defended against Churchill’s attack. I was amazed. No such wise & far-seeing defence & justification have I seen in any Labour Paper or Magazine. For some time indeed ever since the Labour Party took office, The Times has been our best advocate.

I found the two letters I mentioned in my last letter, when I had to get the post, without enclosing them—one from Dorothy Plowman, which reflected the atmosphere of the home which we had made together here, & one from E. K. which reflected the impression made on one whom we had known since she was a child of two years old. For these letters as samples of many others that I receive daily, I feel truly thankful when I review our life together.

Nevertheless I do not want you to think that I have not had my small personal problems to deal with, during your absence, as you have had major world problems to deal with. Some of these personal problems we shall have to investigate & deal with together when you return. I have come to some quite definite conclusions with regard to them, & that definiteness you will like, as it is indefiniteness about details that you find it hard to deal with. I have been obliged to take a long-term view of the future, & can now see it as a whole, & after consultation & agreement with you, I should like soon after your return, to proceed to plan & to act. Meantime all is well & I give thanks from day to day, mainly for your health, but also for the health & well being of all here at the present time.

Charlie Marsh is spending the weekend here, & is occupying your room. She asked to come & is always very happy here. Yesterday in late afternoon we had a most perfect & heavenly ride in the car, to Ranmore Common, which I have not seen for 7 years: from the approach near Dorking to the return through East Horsley & Clandon. We were really entranced by the loveliness from beginning to end. We have saved petrol & shall have enough when you return for a day’s ride to the coast.

We have had a spell of cold winds (not frost) & grey skies, without rain. Vegetation is at its height, but no growth of seedlings for the past 2 or 3 weeks because of drought & cold wind. Nevertheless the flowering season is some weeks ahead of time (due to the very warm & sunny April)[.] We have begun bottling the gooseberries & making jam. With great love & with constant thoughts & blessing,

Your own.

I wonder whether an air-flight to the Caves of Ajanta will be possible during the Wait of Congress & Muslim Verdict.

—————

{1} PETH 6/171.

{2} PETH 6/173?

{3} The name is indistinct.

{4} This remark, made by Maud Coote at Easter, had been mentioned by Lord
Pethick-Lawrence in his letter of 18 May (PETH 6/171).

† Sic.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

Fourways. May 14./46

Dearest of All?

Another most interesting letter from you dated May 5 {1}. In a day or two we expect to hear definite tidings of the present situation—the deadlock for the present in Simla, and a forecast concerning future plans. In the meantime we possess our souls in patience. As I told you in advance, Christopher {2} spent the first of the May Festivals {3} with me. It was a perfectly heavenly day, the peak of the early summer which I look for about the 18th or 20th of the month, but which this year came a week earlier. Lydia & I met Chris at Guildford at noon. May was away for the weekend[.] We had a delicious little Feast, a chicken with breadsauce that would have delighted your taste, & asparagus followed by a perfect gooseberry tart with cream. The gooseberries are quite large—we shall have to relieve the bushes of them, & start bottling in a few days. We drank to you with sherry! After lunch we opened the West Verandah wide & sat in the sun. Chris was in a very happy mood, all smiles & laughter—very sunburnt & rejoicing in a lazy time. (He is working single handed on his Farm. Cannot get Labour, or accommodation for Labour.) But for a few hours he reverted to his real “Diogenes” self. I was that way myself when young—& knew what it was to desire nothing but sun & solitude! For that afternoon Chris was like the Baby in his Pram, that only wanted to be “a buttercup in Auntie Emmeline’s garden”[.] After tea we took him back to Guildford to catch an early train to Petersfield to feed his animals, and on the way home, we called to see the ecstatic little family of 3 Wilkinsons & one pretty little Nurse, & were in time to see the Infant in his Bath beholding all the wonders in company with his adoring parents! The Child is in splendid condition—sunbrowned all over & full of joy & vitality. He is much improved in looks. They have some really lovely photographs of him—one in particular, a perfect picture.

We came home for supper, & I fell into a very sentimental mood & should have written to you that evening but for the fact that I had sent you a long letter {4} by the mornings post.

But Sunday evening was the climax. On Monday the North East wind began to blow, & today the world Clad† in full summer vegetation strives under a blast that is far from kind.

Dorothy Plowman came to lunch today, on her way back from visiting her Mother at Worthing. She is full of life & interest & is preparing new volumes of Mark’s poetry & essays. She has a very keen publisher in Daker, & the Letters have been well received {5}. On June 6th I have been asked to speak about him with Middleton Murray† {6}. Dorothy was greatly interested to hear all about you & specially sent you her love. Piers is engaged in extremely interesting work, connected with Theatre. I have joined the Guildford Repertory Theatre Club & had taken tickets for a Shaw Matinée this afternoon, but of course I ’phoned the Director that I could not come (in case anyone else could use my tickets.)

I had a most interesting letter from Madeleine Doty this morning. She has actually pulled off her plan, & has 45 College Students for Geneva coming on Sept 1st. Will she I wonder get the L. N[.] Buildings & create an International University!! I shouldn’t wonder!

May 15—I received 2 letters from you this morning—May 8 & May 10 {7}—and am thrilled to know that we may have you with us again by May 26. Of course one cannot count on anything. I shall await with eagerness the promised announcement from the P. M. in the H. of C. tomorrow. All the snapshots in the Press are excellent. Joan Coxeter called to see me last evening, looking radiant & lovely. I read the descriptive parts of your letter {8} from Kashmir & Simla. She was thrilled & sent you her very special love. May arrived this morning after a week in London. She has at last had a surgical belt fitted, & is more comfortable than she has lately been. We all send our love. And this one sends her heart & all.

Your own.

It strikes me that you will have to keep all my letters in a big envelope (as I keep yours) to read as light literature in the plane on the way home!

—————

{1} PETH 6/166.

{2} Christopher Budgett, her nephew. His farm, mentioned later on, was Lords Farm, Sheet, near Petersfield.

{3} 12th.

{4} Not extant.

{5} Andrew Dakers Ltd had issued Dorothy Plowman’s edition of her husband’s letters in 1944, under the title Bridge into the Future.

{6} Middleton Murry’s book Adam and Eve: An Essay towards a New and Better Society had been published by Andrew Dakers Ltd. in 1944.

{7} PETH 6/167 and 6/168.

{8} Possibly a slip for ‘letters’.

† Sic.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

March 18. 1946
11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2

My own Beloved.

You are packing, & I have come into my room to rest and not hamper you. For many days I have had no thought, no life (except on the surface) apart from you & your great mission {1}. I have not put what I feel into words, because the high adventure, upon which you are starting out, is too important to allow any place for personal consideration, but you will know how my love & my thought & my prayer will be with you every hour of the day. That is what was expressed in the little charm or keepsake I have given to bear you company. I have very deep roots in you as you have in me. We share our deepest attitude to life & being. To some extent at any rate, like the Buddhas in Tibet, we have found our being outside the wheel of Birth & Death. Outside or inside, we know that we are part of the Cosmic whole, and to the extent of our realization, are beyond anxiety or fear. If not only we two, but all three involved in the great enterprise of reconciliation can live, even if only for a few minutes every day, in this consciousness, the “Miracle” may happen. I have always felt that the marvelous† outpouring of what we call the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was due (in part at any rate,) to the sudden consciousness of oneness generated by the vigil together, and to the realization of what St. Paul in his great chapter in Corinthians {2}, calls “Charity”—Understanding—Fellowship—oneness—so that all spoke in language understood of every tribe & nation.

I rejoice greatly in the letter signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury & others. It is what I have wanted & wished for, but did not expect. I believe it will deeply impress many Indian leaders, whether they admit it or not. At any rate you & your colleagues are going with the ardent goodwill of the whole of the country. This realization will bear you up as on eagles wings {3}.

When I leave the Drome {4} & return here, I expect a visit from Miss Mulock (“Baby”) {5} and on Wednesday {6} Naomi is coming to see me. On Thursday unless we are lucky enough to get theatre ticke[t]s for a Ruth Draper Impersonations†—I shall go to see Mai Mai. On Friday we shall all return to Fourways. And I hope & intend to spend the whole of the next week organizing the garden. On Monday April 1st I have seats for May & myself at an Indian Ballet, Sakuntala[.] On April 2nd the Sculptor Huxley Jones & his wife are coming to tea. They are from Aberdeen & are bringing to London his clay figure that impressed us all in Edinburgh, “the Common Soldier”, hoping it will be accepted for the Royal Academy Show.

During the week at Fourways, I hope to take Grant Watson in the car to call on the Robert Trevelyans. And all the time until next Saturday, one part of me will be flying flying—or sharing your experience in Tunis or elsewhere. And a part of you will be with me, because there will not be the urgent call on your attention which will follow, after next Sunday. May we celebrate our May 26th in thankfulness & joy together, looking back to that memorable day 45 years ago. With my hearts love & blessing

Your own.

—————

{1} The Cabinet Mission to India.

{2} 1 Corinthians xiii.

{3} Cf. Isaiah xl. 31.

{4} Hurn aerodrome.

{5} Possibly Emily Maud Mulock. Cf. PETH 4/161.

{6} 20th.

† Sic.

Results 151 to 180 of 2455