Item 3 - Letter from Edwin Montagu to Venetia Stanley

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Letter from Edwin Montagu to Venetia Stanley


  • 17 Mar. 1910 (Creation)

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India Office, London.—Thanks her for her congratulations [on his appointment as Under-Secretary of State for India]. There is plenty of work for him to do, but he feels he has deserted the Prime Minister. Discusses Violet’s state of mind.

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India Office
March 17th 1910.

Dear Miss Stanley

I have had your letter of the 21st Feb. {1} in my unanswered file with a view to giving it an adequate answer. I’ve never had an opportunity before but make one now.

You’ve been so good to me during this time of trouble that I regard your congratulations as only an item in a long list for which I owe you thanks.

I have here plenty of work and some of it is interesting. But it is very detached and I am a little haunted by a feeling of disloyalty in deserting the P.M. when he is in an inextricable position. But we’ve chosen a good man havent we?

I dined with Violet last night and met your mother for the first time. I can understand how helpful—transcendently she has been.

But I am very uneasy about Violet. She shocked me. She is still abnormally restrained and in a trance-like misery. She has a new ethereal beauty which is horrible and her talk is of a hollow ache.

I hope she is better than she was but I fear for her.

She must not see those whom she does not want to see and you know whom these include.

She must see those she wants and dismiss them at her pleasure and she must get occupation.

I fear she is so unselfish that she will give herself pain. I fear too a complete collapse. Perhaps we can interest her in the approaching debacle.

I lunch with her tomorrow. After that I hope to know better.

But I give you first impressions in the full knowledge that you will continue to be of all her army of friends the most helpful

Edwin S Montagu


{1} This letter does not survive. Venetia evidently wrote to congratulate Montagu on his appointment as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for India.

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