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Letter from Lady Durning-Lawrence to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

13 Carlton House Terrace, S.W.—Invites her and Fred to spend a few days at Ascot before she (Emmeline) goes to Egypt. The differences between Fred’s views and those of herself and her husband have prevented them from being close in the past, but ‘time … has passed on’.



13 Carlton House Terrace, S.W.
Oct 27

My dear Emmeline

In response to your letter we shall be glad if you & Fred will come down to Ascot next Saturday & stay till Monday or the Saturday after or if neither of these proposals are possible can you run down for the day so that we may see you before you leave for Egypt—

If you come for the day do not come Monday or Tuesday as I am changing the monthly to the permanent nurse on those days

I shall always retain my love for Fred & so will his Uncle, but our thoughts & views have gone in such opposition† directions that intimate intercourse seemed difficult

Time however has passed on—Baby goes on well & you will like to see her & her surroundings before you leave

Believe me

Y[ou]rs affect[ionatel]y
Edith J. Durning-Lawrence


† Sic.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Invites him to lunch on Sunday.

(Dated Friday.)



Friday Evening
Darling Freddy—

Just a line before ending the day in case I haven’t time tomorrow—Will you come to lunch here on Sunday. If you come about 11.30—we will go for a little walk in the Park. I shall be going with the Daddy to Hammersmith in the evening—about 5.30—you will be wanting to get back to Canning Town I expect.

I am thinking of you constantly. Your own Woman—

Letter from Humayun Kabir to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

2 York Place, New Delhi.—Asks him to contribute an article to a volume to be presented to Maulana Azad on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.



2, York Place,
New Delhi,
22 NOV 1957

Dear Lord Pethick Lawrence

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great national leader of India, will be completing his 70th year in November 1958. It is proposed that on this occasion, an Abhinandan Granth (Birthday Volume) be presented to him as a mark of our appreciation of his services to the nation for nearly fifty years.

Maulana Azad attained eminence as a brilliant writer and theologian in his early youth. The spirit of free enquiry and search for truth which characterised him from those days soon led him into the political movement as he realised that man cannot attain a true and full development except in an atmosphere of freedom. From his early twenties, he has been a fighter for Indian freedom and his contribution to the cause of Indian nationalism has been widely acknowledged. The Indian nation did him the honour of electing him the President of the Indian National Congress when he was 35. Later during the most critical period of the struggle for freedom, he guided the destinies of the Congress for six momentous years and conducted the negotiations with Sir Stafford Cripps, Lord Wavell and the British Cabinet Mission which resulted in the attainment of Indian independence in 1947.

Apart from his contribution to the Indian national struggle, Maulana Azad has also been an outspoken champion of rationalism and progressiveness in all spheres of Indian life. He has sought to approach religious, moral, social, economic and political questions from a detailed and dispassionate point of view and worked for securing justice and fairplay for all sections of the Indian people.

It is proposed that the Abhinandan Granth should include assessments of his contribution to different aspects of Indian life or studies in various fields in which he has taken a keen interest. On behalf of the Committee, I have great pleasure in requesting you to be so kind as to make a contribution either on some aspect of Maulana Azad’s life and personality or in a subject of your special study. The articles should ordinarily be from 2000 to 3000 words and should reach the undersigned by the 31st March 1958 at the latest.

I shall be grateful for a line in reply indicating your consent and the title of the subject on which you would like to write.

Yours sincerely {1}
Humayun Kabir

Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
C/o Rashtrapati Bhavan,


Letter-head of the Maulana Azad 70th Birthday Committee. The letter is typed, except the opening and closing greetings, which are handwritten, and the date, which is stamped. Presumably the same message was sent to other potential contributors to the projected volume. At the foot has been added ‘Ld P will send a short message of tribute.’ (‘Ld P’ is a conjectural reading; what is written is indistinct.)

{1} These two words are indistinct.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence (incomplete?)

20 Somerset Terrace, Duke’s Road, W.C.—Describes a quiet Sunday alone. Accepts his advice about funding the Club’s activities.



20 Somerset Terrace | Dukes Rd WC.
21. May 1901

Thank you for your letter. Yes it was a day of days on Sunday {1}. I let all the others go off early & had a day of solitude in the blue kitchen—solitude broken only by the happy presence of my little Sunday visitor.

I thought perhaps somebody who had not been abused for a whole week would be ready for a little more scolding! But the dews of peace were falling all day long as the hours swing silently & slowly by—and the splendour of the sky changed from blue to gold & from gold to purple. There is a certain quality of happiness that has fallen upon me since childhood whenever the sun shines & the house is empty. I do not mean that I am not very dependent on companionship: it is only when there is a blue sky, and a human base not very far off, that I enjoy being Diogenes in my tub. But oh the wine of these hours!

And Maeterlinck’s bees (Bees)—I noticed yesterday that you had difficulty in reading my writing!—I say Maeterlincks Bees reconciled me to life and death & impelled me to kiss the black robe of Fate that is wrought with stars.

I must thank you for saying such nice things about our resources. Sister Mary & I will gladly accept your view of the position, though I think we are going to get all we want for the Green Lady & for the Children’s Holiday[,] for I agree with you that it is for the greater interests of the work to get the co-operation & help of the largest number of people that we can touch, leaving the reserves for emergencies.

Let me have your travels to take to Broadmoor {2}.

You couldnt be too prolix if you tried! I’m afraid that is one thing that you are to old to learn? You will never learn to babble?—


This letter ends abruptly, and may be incomplete.

{1} 19th.

{2} The reference may be to the circular letters Lawrence sent home during his journey around the world in 1897–8 (PETH 5/30a–h). In early June this year Emmeline Pethick and Mary Neal took some girls of the Espérance Club to stay at Broadmoor, near Dorking, where a Mrs Brook had placed two cottages at their disposal. Lawrence joined the party for the weekend of 8 and 9 June.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—Thanks her for her congratulations and wishes her a speedy recovery. Refers to the many bonds linking the Pethick-Lawrences to India, particularly in connection with the women’s suffrage movement, and expresses the hope that their feelings of friendship might lead to a real union between the two nations.

Letter from Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

C/o John Day Company, 40 East 49th Street, New York 17.—Congratulates her on her husband’s appointment as Secretary of State for India and on his elevation to the peerage. Many Indians hope that a more enlightened policy will now prevail. Intends to visit England on her return from the United States. Has been in hos-pital and is still convalescing.

Letter from Sir Robert Knox to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Treasury Chambers.—Encloses particulars of recommendations to be considered by the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee. Recommendations for some honours exceed the number available. Sends good wishes for Pethick-Lawrence’s visit to Pakistan and India.

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