Item 76 - Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

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PETH/7/76

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Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

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  • 4 May 1901 (Creation)

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1 folded sheet

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20 Somerset Terrace, Duke’s Road, W.C.—Recommends tact in returning MacIlwaine’s criticism (of his own play?). Alludes to Mary Neal’s part in arranging Lawrence’s ‘Canning interview’.

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Transcript

20 Somerset Terr., Dukes Rd, W.C.
4. 5. 01

Dear Mr Lawrence,

I am sending back Mac’s criticism; am very glad you brought it to us, but don’t let him know that we have seen it in this way. Send it to him yourself with a letter. First say how entirely true it is, that you are in complete sympathy with his attitude, and that is just the truth that wants to be constantly brought out—(you cannot possibly overdo this with a man so self-diffident and easily discouraged as Mac is)—but that you think that a little more description of plot would make it more interesting as probably—(as he himself says)—the play is almost unknown to the average play-goer.

One of two things will happen: he will leave it alone, or will bring it to us and we can do the rest. I think that a good thing could be made of it. Anyway he must not be hurt. You will excuse me for laying so much stress on the matter! But Mac is not like a great big man; he is thin-skinned and sensitive as any woman and as easily repulsed as any child, and he has gone so very far out of his usual way in entering heart and soul into this whole thing that I wouldn’t have him jarred for anything. He is not easily offended—I dont mean that—and he has no vanity, and there is nothing in the world you can’t say to him, but he must know that you appreciate and understand him. I have been quite surprised at the way he has knocked down the barriers himself to meet you; you must be very nice to him.

Sister Mary has just gone off. Mac came to do her shopping and see to her and carry her things to the station. I am glad the Canning interview was productive. Mary has a wonderful way of knowing just the right people for the right use and of being able to root them up at a moment’s notice. And men will take any amount of trouble to please her, as you saw for your-self last night. I think the Blatchford idea an excellent one.

Mr Cope came back last night quite charmed with your friend Mr Gooch {1}—quite overcome with his feelings! I like him awfully too. I hope he will come and see us. I could tell at a glance that he was just our sort—so gentle a man—which is a better way in these days than saying, such a gentleman, nicht wahr?

Sincerely yours,
Emmeline Pethick

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{1} G. P. Gooch and Lawrence both contributed articles to The Heart of the Empire: Discussions of Problems of Modern City Life in England, published the following month. See Fate Has Been Kind, p. 55.

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