Back in the early 1990s we were having our house painted by John Webb, who then lived on Pangbourne Road, Upper Basildon, next door to Myrtle Cottage. He told me that for the second year running a group of Japanese tourists had come to stand outside Myrtle Cottage, to see where the ‘great man’ had lived. The great man in question was D H Lawrence, who I later discovered is big in Japan. But as a local historian I knew that even though Myrtle Cottage was once located in the Parish of Pangbourne, it had always been an estate cottage and not somewhere a writer such as D H Lawrence would have stayed.
So I put on my sleuthing hat and eventually discovered that for a month in August 1919, D H Lawrence and his German wife Frieda had in fact stayed at The Myrtles (now called Kylemore) in Pangbourne. When I broke the news of my discovery to the then owners of Kylemore, they were staggered. Shannee Marks is American and a writer, while her husband Per is German and a sculptor; not quite a mirror image of the Lawrences but close. As the house name had changed the Japanese tour company had obviously done some research, found Myrtle Cottage in nearby Upper Basildon and had ended up taking their tour party to the wrong property.
I then found out that the University of Reading had acquired most of Lawrence’s voluminous correspondence from that period and that the Lawrences had actually had a longer period of residence in Hermitage before moving to Pangbourne.
I was inspired to write this piece which has languished on my computer ever since and I am most grateful to Penny Post for agreeing to publish it here (in three parts) and to Thames & Hudson, Ltd for permission to reproduce photos from D.H. Lawrence by Harry T Moore and Warren Roberts.
Part 2: Impact of the War and planning for the future
It is difficult to reconcile the portrait of a rural idyll in West Berkshire painted by Lawrence in Part 1 of this article, with the death and destruction that was taking place at the same time only 250 miles away in Flanders and northern France. Then there was the ‘Spanish flu’ epidemic of 1918-1920 that claimed the lives of millions, maybe as many as 50 million. The reference to influenza was a misnomer as was the reference to Spain. It was not flu as such but a pulmonary infection that resulted in internal bleeding affecting the lungs. There was no cure and most of those struck down died within a few days.
Only occasionally do the horrors of the First World War and the Spanish flu epidemic receive a mention in Lawrence’s writings – they take second place to his worries over money and his communing with nature.
Letters by DH Lawrence between 17 January 1918 and 29 August 1919
17 January 1918
In writing to Cecil Gray, Lawrence refers to a letter he had received from Richard Aldington, which he did not like. Aldington had written “These human relationships which now seem so important will I know soon become trivial, almost nothing. For soon I go to my Father, to that great holocaust of atonement for the wrongs of mankind”. Lawrence added sardonically “which to me, is a bit thick”.
Aldington was a fellow poet, who unlike Lawrence volunteered for service in 1916 and was commissioned in the Royal Sussex Regt in 1917. He was then wounded on the western front but in spite of his intimations of mortality survived the war and eventually died in 1962. Aldington married another poet in 1911, an American called Hilda Doolittle but after losing one child through a still-birth in 1917, she had a daughter in 1919, fathered not by her husband but by the Cecil Gray to whom this letter was addressed. ‘H D’ as she was known also had several lesbian relationships, the best known with the wealthy Annie Winifred Ellerman (her ship magnate father was one of England’s richest men), another writer, who wrote under the name Bryher.
The Aldingtons had an open marriage. Aldington had a mistress Dorothy (Arabella) Yorke, who owned 44, Mecklenburgh Square in London, where Lawrence and Frieda stayed for a few months in 1917. When they were there H D was also a resident, eventually giving birth to her still-born daughter.
In the early 1920’s Richard Aldington and Arabella Yorke lived together in Malthouse Cottage, Padworth Wharf, Berkshire and the painting of Arabella Yorke is by D H Lawrence.
Not surprisingly the marriage of Richard and H D eventually ended in divorce, though it lasted legally until 1938 and the pair remained on good terms throughout their lives.
20 January 1918
Three days after receiving the Gray letter – Lawrence was writing to his writer friend S S Koteliansky, “I am afraid peace won’t come without the great Bacchanalia you mention. And God knows when the people will be worked up to this. But it will come. It is en route”.
16 February 1918
He wrote again to Koteliansky “Your last was a very desperate letter. It is a good deal how I feel myself. The damned show goes on and on, grinding like a coffee-mill, till one feels one will burst with the madness of it. But do you know I believe it will go on for quite a long while yet. Only a cataclysm will stop it – and a cataclysm is quite a long way off, I believe.”
18 February 1918
He wrote to Lady Cynthia Asquith, thanking her for her letter and saying that he had got over his revulsion at having to ask friends to bail him out – so that if she were prepared to give him money he would be happy to accept it – she then sent him £5 (£250). In his letter he goes on to say that he and Frieda have taken a room in the village (Mrs Lowe’s) and cannot afford to come to London just now, in addition to which there were the raids (by 1918 German Zeppelin airships were making frequent flights over London and the east coast, dropping bombs as they went).
21 February 1918
Lawrence was clearly in a strange frame of mind as regards the War. In a letter 1918 to his artist friend Mark Gertler he wrote “As for my feelings – they won’t interest you very much. About the world, I feel that nothing but a quite bloody, merciless, almost anarchistic revolution will be any good for this country, a fearful chaos of smashing up. And I think it will come sooner or later: and I wish it would come soon. And yet, somehow, I don’t want to be in it. I know it should come, and must come, yet I would like to go away, not to see it. – But if I tried to go, I suppose some whale or other would snap me up and carry me back like a gudgeon in its mouth, and cast me back on Britannia’s miserable shores”.
27 February 1918
Mark Gertler had received his call-up papers, as by 1918 conscription was in place. He had appealed on grounds of conscience and the fact that his parents were Austrian. But he avoided gaol by agreeing to undertake non-military work of national importance – normally this meant agricultural work.
16 March 1918
When he heard this Lawrence wrote to his friend, saying that “I’m glad that dirty business is settled at least. I knew you would be all right. There is some mystic quality inside a few of us, which puts them off at once, these military mongrel-sniffers. One would say it is a guardian angel – but it is rather an influence within the every being”.
22 March 1918
Lawrence wrote in his diary that when out walking in the woods at Hermitage he could hear the guns in France. Following the Russian revolution of 1917, the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire) forced the Bolshevik Revolutionary Government to sign the Treaty of Brest Livotsk on 3 March 1918. This effective capitulation by the Bolsheviks enabled Germany to withdraw its Eastern armies and throw them into battle on the Western Front. The first assault, codenamed Michael, commenced on 21 March 1918, when over 1 million shells were fired on to the British lines at the Somme, some 220 miles away from Hermitage as the crow flies. If the noise could be heard 220 miles away, one can only imagine the horror of being the object of that attack. But although the Germans gained ground – they came close to Amiens – where Private Henry Hayter of Upper Basildon lies buried – they failed to make the breakthrough. In the process both Allies and Germany each lost around 250,000 men, either killed or wounded, exhausting themselves by the end of April 1918. But by August 1918 the US army was able to put over one million freshly trained men in the field and within three months the Great War was over.
3 April 1918
Lawrence wrote to Catherine Carswell to say that they were travelling to the Midlands to stay for a few days at Ripley, nr Derby – Lawrence had a sister living in the Midlands and she wanted them to move up there. He added “Oh, God, the bombs! One fell in the garden of 42 Mecklenburgh Square – all back windows smashed in 44. Thankful we weren’t there.” – as mentioned the Lawrences had stayed for a few months in 44, Mecklenburgh Square in 1917.The property was owned by their friend, Dorothy (Arabella) Yorke.
28 April 1918
He wrote to Mark Gertler that they were going to Mountain Cottage, Middleton, Wirkworth, Derbyshire later that week “What is happening to you. I am getting through day after day. One seems to go through all the Ypres and Mount Kemmels and God knows what. In some blind and hypnotic fashion I do a few bits of poetry – beyond that, I am incapable of everything…” (The German Lys offensive on the Ypres (Belgium) sector of the line began on 9 April 1918 – the Fourth Battle of Ypres). On 11 April 1918, Field-Marshall Haig felt constrained to issue his famous order of the day – “There is no course to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement” – Mount Kemmel was an Allied strongpoint, south-west of Ypres. There Belgian and French troops were subjected to ferocious attacks from the Germans and on the 25 April 1918 the Germans managed to capture Mont Kemmel. 5000 French soldiers are buried in the Mont Kemmel war cemetery. But that was the extent of German success – (Ypres and the roads to the ports remained in Allied hands).
27 August 1918
The Lawrences were at Mountain Cottage in Middleton, Derbyshire from May to August 1918 – Lawrence’s sister had rented it for them. But by August 1918 they were back at Chapel Farm Cottage for a short time before setting off for the Vicarage, Upper Lydbrook, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire where Lawrence wrote to S S Koteliansky as follows: “We got here yesterday – rather lovely – in the Forest of Dean – a real forest. The Carswells very nice but depressed. Margaret Radford was horrible. Everywhere a nasty sense of sordid despair. You my dear Kot are a tower of strength – a real tower of strength to us both – and a solitary tower in the land, at that…Frieda quite loves you since open enmity is avowed. We go back to Middleton Saturday or Monday”.
Catherine Carswell (1879-1946) was a writer and a close friend of Lawrence – they were literary soul mates and Lawrence encouraged Carswell to write. Carswell, born Macfarlane in Glasgow had had an unfortunate first marriage, marrying a man who was unstable and who tried to kill her when he found out she was pregnant. She divorced him and then embarked on a passionate affair with a married painter, Maurice Greiffenhagen. The affair fizzled out when he refused to divorce his wife. Eventually in 1915 she married for a second time a fellow Scot, Donald Carswell, who worked for the Times. Catherine Carswell herself worked for the Glasgow Herald until she lost her job on Lawrence’s account – inserting a favourable book review of The Rainbow in the Herald, without her editor’s knowledge. She also helped out when Lawrence couldn’t find any decent young lady prepared to type the manuscript of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, though typical of Lawrence, he then criticized her for being too slow at typing!
30 October 1918
By October 1918 the Lawrences were staying at Dollie Radford’s London house – 32, Well Walk, Hampstead NW but Frieda then fell ill with a bad cold and throat, later diagnosed as pleurisy. The flu epidemic was sweeping the country, so the Lawrences fled London for the comparative safety of Chapel Farm Cottage. They were back there by 24 October 1918. In a letter to Stanley Hocking, Lawrence wrote that “The flu is really like a plague, everywhere – London absolutely stricken. I was re-examined in September – after a row with the Nat Service people. They put me in Grade III. I don’t expect to be bothered. As a matter of fact I think peace will actually come before Christmas: if that old scoundrel Clemenceau doesn’t put his spoke in. Lloyd George personally wants peace – quite emphatically now – so does Milner – so they should be able to manage England’s part…. In town we saw the Murrys again…Poor Mrs Murry has consumption of the lungs – cannot go outside the house….” (Lawrence was friends with the Hocking family. Stanley’s father was William Hocking, who became Superintendent of the Royal Mint. The family hailed from Sennen Cove in Cornwall and it seems likely that Lawrence and William Hocking had an affair after they met in Cornwall. Mrs Murry was another literary friend – the New Zealand writer, who wrote under the name Katherine Mansfield. She later died of consumption in 1923 aged just 34, the same disease that claimed Lawrence’s own life in 1930, when he was aged 44.)
5 November 1918
Lawrence wrote to Amy Lowell from Chapel Farm Cottage to say that he had just recovered from flu. “I have one really passionate desire – to have wings, only wings, and to fly away – far away. I suppose one would be sniped by anti-aircraft guns. But one could fly by night. Then those indecent search-lights fingering the sky.” (Amy Lowell was an American modernist poet, who had come to London to meet the likes of Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and Hilda Doolittle. As a result she had also met Lawrence. She died in 1924 aged 51).
9 November 1918
Lawrence wrote to Catherine Carswell from Chapel Farm Cottage to say that “We had a marvellous peace report on Thursday night – great celebrations and hurrahing. We still feel a little crestfallen. We are both better.” There is no letter on Armistice Day, which the Lawrences may well have celebrated with their friends in London.
The Lawrences then went again to stay in Middleton by Wirksworth, Derbyshire and remained there until returning to Chapel Farm Cottage on 25 April 1919.
Sometime after returning Lawrence was writing to a Dr David Eder, pleading that Eder should take Lawrence to Palestine. Eder (1865-1936) was a well-known British psychoanalyst, physician, socialist, Zionist and writer. He had served as a doctor in the RAMC during the War and was one of the first to write about the effects and treatment of what we now call post-traumatic stress. His views on state support for mothers were written up in a pamphlet, which Lawrence read and felt sufficiently persuasive to be worked into his novel The White Peacock. Lawrence expressed what he called “a hot little interest” in Palestine and went on in his letter to suggest that Palestine needed kindling with a spark of magic. He then set out the Lawrentian ideas on what that spark of magic might be – namely two laws:
“First law: There shall be no laws: every man shall hold up his hand in token that he is self-responsible and answerable to his own soul.
Second law: Every man shall have food, shelter, knowledge and the right to mate freely – every man and woman shall have this, irrespective of any other claim than that of life-necessity: and every man who enters, and every woman, shall hold up a hand to signify that in these two principles we are at one.
Then everything can be done by arrangement, not by law. There are many deep and bitter and sweet things to know and learn, afterwards. But in accepting the first two principles, we put ourselves, like beginners, into the state of pure attention , like acolytes. And so our State begins …..I seriously want to go to Palestine.”
We don’t know how Dr Eder responded to this missive, but he probably felt that Palestine had enough problems as it was without adding Lawrence’s spark of magic. In the event he never took Lawrence to Palestine.
24 May 1919
During May 1919, Lawrence’s financial position began to improve. He received £55 (£2,750) from his agent Pinker for completed work and £20 (£1000) from the Rupert Brooke Foundation, which helped needy authors. When Catherine Carswell was about to visit the Lawrences at Chapel Farm Cottage on 16 May 1919 he offered to contribute £1 to her travelling costs. Catherine Carswell then proposed to stay longer in Hermitage, with her baby son and in a letter of 24 May, Lawrence recommended she stay at Mrs Bessie Lowe’s, who would charge 35’- a week full board. Mrs Bessie Lowe was a busy lady, because in addition to letting rooms, she ran the village shop and was also the local midwife. She did have competition as regards the room letting business. Mrs Brown, who owned the cottage next door to Chapel Farm Cottage also took paying guests but Lawrence felt Mrs Lowe’s establishment was not only more comfortable but less expensive. Catherine Carswell eventually came and stayed until mid-June.
His agent Pinker wrote to tell him that he had sold The Fox for £30 (£1,500). Lawrence replied “I’m glad you sold The Fox. I suppose they won’t pay the £30 until they print – worse luck.” Also in June 1919, he wrote to the poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), promising a poem for the anthology Sassoon was compiling. This appeared a year later in Vanity Fair under the title Fireflies. A set of Parodies of the Work of some Modern British poets. Lawrence, W H Davies (the tramp poet); John Drinkwater; Walter de le Mare; Robert Graves and John Masefield all appeared. (Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves had both been officers and had served together in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Sassoon, known as ‘Mad Jack’ was awarded the Military Medal for his heroic, almost suicidal exploits — he once stormed a trench single-handed and the 50 Germans defending it ran for their lives. He then failed to appear and it was thought he had been killed. But when his men advanced on the trench they found their Captain sitting on an upturned shell reading a book of poetry – but later Sassoon turned against the War and became one of its bitterest critics. But having shown such bravery in the field, he was untouchable as far as the authorities were concerned).
8 July 1919
Lawrence was writing to Mrs Helen Thomas (1877-1967) the widow of the poet Edward Thomas, who was killed in France in 1917. She then lived at the Forge House, Orford, Kent and Lawrence had spent the week-end with her in Kent. She later moved to Eastbury in the Lambourn Valley and commissioned a memorial window to her poet husband from Laurence Whistler for Eastbury Parish Church. She herself is buried in Eastbury churchyard.
9 July 1919
He wrote a long letter from Chapel Farm Cottage to Eleanor Farjeon, setting out the steps that needed to be taken to send relief to distressed Germans and Austrian and Hungarians. One had to work through an Emergency Committee licensed by the Board of Trade. It is clear from the letter that the Lawrences had already sent some assistance and Eleanor Farjeon also wanted to contribute.
On 9 July, Lawrence sent a revised copy of The Fox back to his agent. He had been asked to cut it and duly obliged. Originally 9000 words, he excised 650.
15 July 1919
He wrote to Eleanor Farjeon, to thank her for sending a food parcel to the person recommended by the Lawrences – Fraulein Crescenz Weingartner of Munich, who had three small children, all of whom were starving. Lawrence had been house hunting for Eleanor Farjeon and refers to a property at Summerhurst Green, Headley as a possibility. But no estate agent, he describes it as “a far off end-of –the –world place, up a narrow forsaken trough of a lane; don’t know if you would like it – don’t think you would.”
In his letter he also refers to the fact that his play Touch and Go is to be put on by Douglas Goldring at ‘the People’s Theatre Society’. (Douglas Goldring (1887-1960) was the same age as Lawrence and a fellow writer. He had volunteered to fight in the War but had later been discharged on medical grounds. He then became a strong critic of the War and moved in the same socialist circles as Lawrence. Goldring was an admirer of Lawrence’s work and the two men became friendly. The People’s Theatre Society was founded by Goldring in 1919 but was a short-lived venture.)
1 August 1919
The Lawrences vacated Chapel Farm Cottage for the Radfords on 21 July and first went to London, where they stayed a few days with Barbara Low at 10, Brunswick Square, WC1. On 28 July they moved to Pangbourne to stay at Rosalind Bayne’s ‘Myrtle Cottage’. As previously mentioned, Cottage is a misnomer, as the property, now re-named Kylemore, 38, Reading Road, Pangbourne is not a cottage but a Victorian semi-detached house. On 1 August Lawrence wrote to Rosalind Baynes “We are liking the Myrtles so much. I have been working in the garden all morning, Frieda busy about the house.” Rosalind Baynes had gone to stay with her sister and brother-in-law, Herbert and Joan Farjeon at Spring Cottage, Bucklebury.
2 August 1919
He wrote from Myrtle Cottage to Cecily Lambert at Grimsbury Farm, Hermitage “Had your Post card – half expected you to turn up today – my sister and brother-in-law come tomorrow. It is very quiet and nice here – but we hardly go outside the garden. A few apples are ripe, and pears – good for me- Let us know if possible the day that you are coming, or else come pretty early – as our visitors may want us to go off picknicking (can’t spell) or on that steamer. My brother-in-law will row you on the river. I blush to make an exhibition before all the nuts and their daisies, so numerous here…”
6 August 1919
He wrote from Myrtle Cottage to the publisher Martin Secker “I am glad the New Poems are coming in another edition..Yes, I should like all my poems to be collected. But if you settle with Chattos and Duckworth, let me know, will you. I should like to discuss with you the arrangement. I am at this address for another fortnight.”
Another publisher, Michael Sadleir had already published two of Lawrence’s poems in May 1918 in New Paths: Verse, Prose, Pictures (1917-1918)
Labour Battalion by D H Lawrence
The Town grows fiercer with heat! It does not shrivel like big herbage,
But it makes the sunlight beat Backward and forward from wall to wall
And exults in its bitter usage Of us all.
Our hands, our breasts rebel against us, Our eyes darken, and impotence hurts
Our soul. Nothing but the mad monotonous
Stress of compulsion, and a hand that girts,
The heart – heart that beat Once free as the running of angels’ feet.
Oh, and I wish that I Was at Mablethorpe
Where the long fawn foreshores lie Taut as a wetted warp,
And the long waves rush and ply Like a shuttle that carries the weft
Like a harpist that strikes his deft Fingers across the harp.
Oh to see the long waves rush, Like the woof the shuttle carries,
Along the coast: to hear the hush Of the waves that wash
To the distance, the wave that tarries Far down the coast, then comes up flush.
The cool, the cleanness of the sea, The sea all wet
Would wash away this ignominy And better yet,
To hear the long waves strike the coast As a harpist running along the strings
Would take away the sickening fret
Of nerves that grind and a soul that stings And shame that hurts most.
For Oh, to feel the rhythm set In me again
The substance tangled in the net Of this day’s ignominy and sweat
Set free again.
For the sound of the sea as it furls and unfurls
To sing in the shell of my heart the lull and increase,
For a rhythm to compel me back, for peace In the whispering whorls
But I’ll never reach the long sweet shore Of Lincolnshire
Only the waste night lies in store Already I see the shelled moon lie
Like a shed white husk on the torrid sky, A thing of fear.
For the moon like a Fata Morgana will lean Out of the sky tonight
The town will cluster her herbage then, And sinister beings will beckon between
The thick rank streets, and a stark white light Envelop our den.
And we shall be sealed and stowed away And not like men
We shall strip to the Fata Morgana, betray
And disown ourselves, and then when the light
Of morning is back, we shall change again And disown the night.
No News by D H Lawrence
Ah heaven, send Her letter somehow
To tell me How she fares at her end
Of this journey So terrible now
Rain, and a falling world And never a word
To my silenced heart Explosions have whirled
And a silence that stirred Saw my last hope start
She has sent me a letter The skies fall
The unseen cloud Rains heavy: to me
Nothing again. Nothing yet
Were it better To forget?
Forget all? Is death so proud
That he dares demand Everything from me
Am I lost? Has death set me apart
Beforehand? Have I crossed
That border? Have I nothing in this dark land,
Even no pain of heart To afford her?
8 August 1919
From Myrtle Cottage to Douglas Goldring “…Let me know what happens in Holland. I am always ready to do anything I can toward sanity and real clarte – but feel that perhaps one must wait a little longer for events – I have a feeling though, that a People’s Theatre would go all right.. Remember me to Mrs Goldring. I’d like to see her act..’’
(Douglas Goldring had become secretary of the English branch of Clarte , an international leftist movement for brotherhood and peace, later exposed as a communist front-organisation. Goldring had been invited to visit the Hague at the invitation of the editor of a socialist weekly journal. Lawrence wanted Mrs Goldring to play the part of Mrs Holroyd in his play Touch and Go.)
9 August 1919
From Myrtle Cottage to S S Koteliansky “Dear Kot, I have done a certain amount of the translation – Apotheosis. I began Russian Spirit but either Shestov writes atrociously – I believe he does – or you translate loosely. One sentence has nothing to do with the next, it seems like jargon. The Apotheosis is more intelligible. His attitude amuses me – also his irony, which I think is difficult for English readers. But he isn’t anything wonderful is he? Apotheosis of Groundlessness will never do. What can one find instead, for a title.
Monstrous hot here- My youngest sister and family have gone – my elder sister comes today. Beyond that no news. Too hot to write an intelligent letter.”
(Leo Shestov (1868-1938) was a Russian philosopher and critic. His work was translated by Koteliansky and was then edited by Lawrence, who also wrote a foreword. The title they eventually lighted on was ‘All things are possible.’)
11 August 1919
From Myrtle Cottage to Cecily Lambert at Grimsbury Farm, Hermitage. “Dear Miss Lambert, You will wonder what we are doing. My sister and Peggy – also Hilda Brown – are here, the former till Thursday. Mrs Baynes comes back on Friday, She wants us to stay with her: so we’ll stay, I expect, till the Monday following: next Monday that is. Then we shall have to be trotting off. Do you think you might come for us, with Tommy, next Monday? Tomorrow the women and children are going steaming – to Reading. On Wednesday we propose to come to Hermitage. We should bus to Streatley, walk over to Compton (5 miles) and take train to Hermitage. It will be necessary to see Margaret to settle up with her (this was Margaret Radford, whom Lawrence disliked). She is going to London on the 21st but coming back to the cottage in September – I shall have a plain understanding with her about the cottage.
We shall lunch at Chapel Farm Cottage – bring it with us. Shall we come over to you for tea in the afternoon? Tell us if you are busy. We shall come back here by train – 6.20 or 7.30
At last it is cooler. I feel cooked to a turn – cooked right through. Pangbourne is –or has been – too much like a casserole for me.
Hope you are both safe and sound – particularly sound. Greetings from everybody, D H Lawrence”.
12 August 1919
Again to Koteliansky from Myrtle Cottage : “My Dear Kot, I have done also The Russian Spirit. Send it at once to Austin Harrison and tell him I recommended you to do so – and tell him a few words about Shestov The English Review, 19, Garrick Street, WC
Harrison is mean. Manage him about money. He might like to print a series of Shestov paragraphs. If so, go and see him and have a definite arrangement with him.”
15 August 1919
To Catherine Creswell from Myrtle Cottage “My dear Catherine, We are here – since July 28th – Rosalind Baynes lent us her house – pleasant house – hate Pangbourne itself.
Thos Cook said pass-ports would not be granted till peace was ratified. God knows when that will be. Will Don please fill in the passport, and forward it to Thos Cook. At any rate it will be ready.
We are here, I think, till the 25th – then to Hermitage, either to stay in the Cottage or with those farm girls. The wretched Margaret is at the Cottage now – she turned us out. She leaves on the 23rd, but comes back again in September for a week or a fortnight – so we shall probably stay at the farm. We had my younger sister here last week – now my elder sister.
I don’t quite know what is going to happen with us. I shan’t go to Germany at present – nor even America, I think. When I come near the thought of U.S.A. – New York, Prince of Wales etc – it sickens me
What is your place like? This hot weather I suppose you live out of doors. Are you leaving at the end of August?
Nothing happens – except Martin Secker wants to bring out my Collected Poems – why, heaven knows.
Hope John Patrick is well and happy, also his mother, Au revoir DHL”.
(The Carswells were staying at Decoy Pond Farm, Marchwood, Hants. The Prince of Wales had just departed on a tour of Canada and the USA. Frieda Lawrence wanted to go back to Germany to visit her relatives.)
20 August 1919
Lawrence wrote again from Myrtle Cottage to Catherine Carswell – “Sounds so jolly with you – wish we could have come, but am afraid we can’t manage. How long are you staying? We are here till Monday – then to Hermitage –if you were staying two more weeks, we might dash down. It rains now – so grey, looks as if it would rain for weeks – Autumn must be beautiful in the Forest.”
22 August 1919
Lawrence wrote from Myrtle Cottage to Cecily Lambert at Grimsbury Farm, Hermitage. “Dear Miss Lambert, You’ll think we are as vague as Margaret (Margaret Radford, who let the Lawrences have use of Chapel Farm Cottage) – Mrs Baynes has come back – says she has asked Captain Baynes to come down next week, specially to see us, and to talk about a fruit-farming bee which he has got in his bonnet – wants us to stay until he has been. It’s rather a bore upsetting the arrangement. Would you mind coming for us Wednesday or Friday, if these days are possible. I’ll write the moment I know Baynes will be here – I feel horribly shut in here – think with such relief of the space round the farm. Tell Miss Monk to have patience with us – I hate this changing business.”
23 August 1919
Lawrence wrote to J B Pinker, (his UK agent) from Myrtle Cottage “Dear Pinker, Huebsch (his American Agent) wrote and asked me if he might begin printing the New Poems when Secker published. I said ‘Yes’ I suppose that was all right.
About Touch and Go -I’m sorry, Douglas Goldring and Walter Peacock were arranging it before I really knew. Peacock arranged with Daniels to publish the play as the first of a Plays for A People’s Theatre series. Do you mind if it goes ahead with these other people? Yours sincerely D H Lawrence”.
26 August 1919
Lawrence wrote to Cecily Lambert at Grimsbury Farm “Do you still invite us to the farm, or are you tired of the continual variations? If we are to come, could you and Miss Monk come to fetch us on Friday or Saturday or even Sunday – whichever day is convenient to you and Tommy. But come to lunch on Friday, for choice. Capt Baynes is here –we’ve just been sailing and rowing down to Mapledurham – very windy. I’ve agreed to go back into the cottage Sept 16th, Can you endure so long? Frieda sends greetings – au revoir – D H Lawrence”. (Only the wealthy owned motor cars in 1919. One assumes that the cousins at Grimsbury Farm had a pony and trap – it is a 16 mile round trip from Hermitage to Pangbourne.)
29 August 1919
Lawrence wrote his final letter from Myrtle Cottage. That evening the cousins collected him and Frieda and drove them back to Hermitage where they lived until the beginning of November 1919 seemingly alternating between Grimsbury Farm and Chapel Farm Cottage as his next letter was written from Grimsbury Farm and is dated Friday 29 August. It was to his friend Kot informing him that he, Lawrence, had finished the Shestov editing but had managed to mislay the manuscript for Russian Spirit which Kot had returned to him. He had written to Pangbourne to see if he had left it behind – if not he would have to copy it out from Kot’s Manuscript.
Another letter dated 29 August 1919 is headed Chapel Farm Cottage. This went to Benjamin Huebsch, his American agent, who was bringing out Lawrence’s New Poems. Lawrence asks to be kept informed on sales and royalties owing to him and promises shortly the complete manuscript of his work American Literature. He states that he can not get to America at present and finishes by asking for a couple of copies of The Rainbow – his novel that had been prosecuted for indecency – and inquiring if any of his compatriots can get copies of the book from Huebsch and if so at what cost?