- 10 Nov. 1926
Part of Pethick-Lawrence Papers
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.)
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.