Item 13 - Letter from Edwin Montagu to Venetia Stanley

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MONT II/B/1/13


Letter from Edwin Montagu to Venetia Stanley


  • 25 June 1911 (Creation)

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India Office, London.—Will come on Wednesday. Explains why he left London to avoid the Coronation and then returned to attend it. Describes the ceremony.

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      This is a reply to A1/12.

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      India Office
      June 25th 1911.

      Dear Miss Stanley

      I returned to town yesterday morning and on my way to the Review {1} (great fun) I went to this office, where I found your letter. No wonder my telephone remark “what do you want” aroused an indignant note in your voice which made the telephone vibrate and be it said go irremediably out of order.

      Of course I’ll come on the Wednesday if I may and thank you so much. It is only not surprising because it is characteristic of you this ever increasing kindness. I am grateful.

      Can you read more. Well I want to say a word about the Koronashun. I cant help remembering two thought producing comments of yours at different times. “I am disappointed in your lack of interest in current events” and “You’re doing the right thing from the wrong motives”.

      Well but were the motives wrong. At one time I used to think I suffered from too much imagination. Now I think I have too little. I went away because I feared the bodily fatigue, strain, pain or what you will of five hours in the abbey. I came back honestly literally because the weather drove me to fret {2}. Fate sent me home and anxious to see yet afraid of discomfort I went to the abbey. And in result? Well it was the most wonderful thing conceivable. I shall never be other than profoundly thankful I was there.

      As to what I saw, {3} the gorgeous colour and the music, the banal commonplace sermon, the election poster peers, the playing card Alice in wonderland heralds, the little insignificant king & the real thinking lonely P.M. in his chair by the podium—the king of all that matters—I have nothing to bore you with.

      But I am decided on one thing. If I cant help having eccentric impulses the best things in the world to do in the case of alternatives is what most other people do—they’re right.

      So much in case by any chance you had any share in sending me to the abbey. I wish I could describe to you my vacillations.
      Well till Wednesday fortnight and thank you again.

      Edwin S. Montagu


      Black-edged paper.

      {1} The King’s review of the Navy at Spithead.

      {2} Reading uncertain.

      {3} Comma supplied.

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