Showing 8 results

Archival description
Shephard, Lena Meliscent (1885–1973), campaigner for women’s rights in India
Print preview View:

8 results with digital objects Show results with digital objects

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reflects on the mission’s first fortnight, and sends greetings from friends. Alexander is better, but they have decided not to go to Agra. The mission still plan to go to Kashmir for Easter, but will not go to Simla.

—————

Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 7. 46

My own Darling

Another Sunday has come round—a fortnight since we arrived. Light, heat[,] colour, experience, endeavour, endless patience, endurance & my family motto “per ardua stabilis”. My body is a perfect “brick”. It has neverd† wavered in its allegiance & has played the game magnificently. My spirit has not flagged. Your noble words written before I left {1}, to the effect that in a measure you & I had already escaped from the wheel of life & death have come to me from time to time. Your love token bearing witness to our relationship to the central life is with me. It is of course much too early even to begin to think of the time when I shall be coming back. There are many rivers still to cross, many adventures still to undertake, many problems still to face. But these are all part of the great enterprise on which I have set out & which God-willing I have to carry through to a successful issue.

Of one thing I am convinced—tht the fact of my coming @ 74 years of age has of itself had a considerable effect on Indian opinion. I send you a most friendly leading article; naturally they are not all like tht. One paper in paticular† is fond of writing the most disagreeable things. I call it “Albert’s arsenic[”]. (Albert Alexander is infuriated by it). Of course there are endless photo-graphs & cartoons. One of me as a cook is perhaps the best likeness. The other pictures I send are not of me at all but I have not cut them off as they illustrate the cartoonists art.

I went to the Quaker’s† service again today & met Mrs Pandit who sent greeting to you, Mrs Naidu & her daughter, Miss Shepherd, & a great many others including Mrs Brailsford who is coming with her husband to dine with us tonight {2}.

The temperature went up to 104º yesterday & is probably about the same today but my bed-room is “air conditioned” & comparatively cool. It is there tht I am now writing. I am very particular about wearing my topi whenever I go out, but medical opinion appears to have undergone a complete revolution since we were here 20 years ago. They now say tht if you wear dark glasses when you go out you need nt worry much about anything else. They may be right but I am not taking any chances.

Alexander is over his little indisposition but we abandoned our trip to Agra & the Taj in consequence of it. We are still planning to spend a few days in Cashmir for Easter but have abandoned any idea of going to Simla & personally so far as tht is concerned I had much rather stay here. For one thing I think we shall get on more expeditiously with our work, & if we can finish it in time to be back before th end of May you know what tht will mean to me.

Abundance of fruit for breakfast is a great joy. Today we had some strawberries.

Lydia’s watch stands me in good stead please give her my love. I hope sister May will enjoy her visit to some one[,] I forget whom. All my love to her.

Darling your very own
Boy

—————

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

{1} See PETH 8/68. The ‘love token’ mentioned shortly afterwards is evidently the ‘keepsake’ mentioned in Lady Pethick-Lawrence’s letter.

{2} Evamaria Brailsford's husband, H. N. Brailsford, had been sent to India by Reynolds’s News to observe the provincial elections. See F. M. Leventhal, The Last Dissenter (1985), p. 286.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—(17th.) Reflects on the difficult month to come. Meliscent Shephard sends her love.—(18th.) Harold Large has appointed him one of his literary executors. Some changes in the Budget will affect them personally.

—————

Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 17—1946

My dear.

When I start off on my journey to Kashmir on Friday morning it will be just a month since I started off on my journey to London. Just as I began then with a short holiday in a new place so I am beginning again. Just as I then saw in front of me a hot & difficult month so now I see a still hotter & still more difficult task in the time ahead. I cannot in the least tell wht the future has in store for me; Sir Stafford Cripps says he feels assured tht somehow the hour is striking when India is to attain her new freedom. I have kissed the little love token tht you gave me before I went away & have commended myself to God for Him to fit my little piece of Himself into his great plan as he thinks best. I am exceedingly well in health.

I saw Miss Melicent Shepherd a few days ago & had a very pleasant talk to her. She asked me to remember her to you & sent you her love. She says she is Cornish & her name is really the same as the French “Melisande”. I shall keep this letter open until tomorrow as it will probably be about a week after you receive this before you receive another from me. I do hope you will have a lovely Easter time.

Thursday. I dined with Auckinleck† last night & a number of generals. One of them said he knew Harold Large {2} & had heard from him saying tht he & I were to be H L’s literary executors when he passed on.

All my love to my own blessed darling.

Ever your very own
Boy

You will note several changes in the budget which affect us. You & I & E M P are all entitled to cash part of post-war credits. Changes in Estate Duty are nil on your Estate.

—————

There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘wht’ for ‘what’.

{1} i.e. Tunis.

{2} Not identified.

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.

—————

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.

—————

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.—The situation is critical. Discusses the attitudes of the various parties. Is dining with a Dutch collector of Indian folk-songs (Arnold Bake).

—————

Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 12 (evening). 1946.

Oh my darling.

I will write you just as I would talk to you if you were sitting close by me in the room. The situation is very critical. And this afternoon it looked for a while as if a decision would almost certainly be reached in some 36 hours & could scarcely be other than a rejection. For a moment I had a sensation of relief. As one who has kept for a long while a weary vigil at the bedside of a beloved sick relative & there are signs that the end is approaching. And then came the reaction as I thought of the terrible time ahead if the calamity in fact materialised. And so I stifled back my desire for personal escape & thanked God tht while there was life there was still hope. And it may be - - - but can it - - & will it - -? Can we in very truth claw back victory out of the mouths of the hounds of defeat? It may mean abandoning my hope of getting back before the end of June. It may mean failing in the end after it all. But as in the poem John X Merriman gave us.

“Great is the facile conqueror
But he who unhorsed
And covered oer with blood & sweat
Fights on - - is greater yet” {1}

[I think there are some words missing.] {2}

Everyone takes the situation differently. Alexander is frankly angry but will I think play the game by his colleagues even at great personal inconvenience. Cripps refuses to be discouraged. He has postponed his passage home. The Viceroy is the soldier fighting gallantly a rearguard action. Gandhi in his own peculiar way is at the moment fighting three quarters on our side. Several others desperately want a peaceful settlement, and with them are many of the general public. But there are many reckless men & women who eagerly hope for a break down & a return to revolutionary activities. And there are many who blame every one but themselves & reserve their choicest epithets of abuse for the Mission.

My only really cool hours are when I am in the Viceroys specially air-cooled study & when I am in the swimming pool or my private bath. I get a short walk at 7 AM & another at 7 PM & occasionally I play billiards. Otherwise I just work & negotiate & discuss & read the papers & days a week. But I pray tht I do so to the glory of God.

I have had many dear letters from you but I do not think there has been anything especial tht required an answer. It is an intense satisfaction to me tht you keep well.

Jan 13 {2} Miss Shepherd has gone south to the marriage of her sister. Before she left she told me of a Dutch man & his wife who have spent years collecting Indian folk songs {4}. They are coming to see me after dinner to night. We had quite a heavy shower of rain last night but the real monsoon is not expected for another ten days or so.

My dear love to you, blessed & beloved

Your own Boy

—————

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

{1} The reference is to the last stanza of William Watson’s poem ‘In Laleham Churchyard (August 18, 1890)’, which runs as follows:

‘Great is the facile conqueror;
Yet haply he, who wounded sore,
Breathless, unhorsed, all covered o’er
With blood and sweat,
Sinks foiled, but fighting evermore,—
Is greater yet.’

{2} The square brackets are original.

{3} The date is in the margin.

{4} Arnold and Corrie Bake.