Dearest Miss Addams
I have just had word today of the death of my dear old friend and comrade, Mrs Pelham. It comes so close upon the heels of a letter from her full of life & the relish for life and of gay infectious [humor], -- that I can't quite believe it yet.To John & me she was an unceasing cause for wonder, and we shall always cherish the astonishing vision of her as she arrived each year [page 2] in Oria radiating enjoyment & enthusiasm & the unquenchable spirit of youth -- the contagion of it spreading all around her, so that I'm sure none of the personally-conducted Tours that pass our way in endless streams each summer, ever got such zest & entertainment from their pilgrimage as did Mrs Pelham's little flock.
She always left us refreshed & stimulated, & full of admiration for her energy & her valiant spirit. To me, her death is the realest grief & loss. And at H.H. there will [page 3] be many of all sorts but especially of the lowliest & most forlorn who will truly morn her.
Is there any possibility of making some little memorial in recognition of her years of untiring service -- perhaps on behalf of some of the poor & wretched whom she has comforted. If there is, I should so like to share in it -- & will send you a check for $150.00 if it could be used in any appropriate way.
I do hope you are well again -- from various accounts your bronchitis held on rather [page 4] too long, & we have been a bit anxious about you.
Your Christmas message moved me to tears -- over this poor blind old world, stumbling at the edge of the abyss ... And just at the same time I was reading -- also with tears, but happy ones in this case, Romain Rolland's lovely book on Mahatma Gandhi. I should have sent it to you at once, but I seem to remember you don't enjoy reading French books -- & I feel sure it must shortly appear in an English translation. Such a [revelation] of the Divine Spirit made manifest in man as this epic of Gandhi, has no parallel [page 5] since Christ, & St Francis. I wonder whether the new Labour Government here will not include among its acts of conciliation (for it does seem to be embarking on its difficult task in a spirit of conciliation) the liberation of Gandhi & his fellow-prisoners in India -- & trying to move towards some solution of the Indian problem with more humanity & more good-faith than their predecessors. Their tenure of life just now is a slender one, & may not be for long -- but if they can manage to [page 6] sound clearly a new note while they have the chance -- to "be just & fear not" for a little while in a panic-stricken world -- the influence of that initiative of confidence & cooperation might be a turning-point in international affairs -- After all, it has partly been a case of no one having the courage to begin.
Is the meeting of the W.I.L. conference in Washington this year going to add very greatly to your burdens?
I am enclosing herewith a check [page 7] for my contribution towards that -- & sending all good-wishes for its success. Certainly there is plenty of room for such an oasis of idealism in that desert of sordidness. I should think, too, with a Presidential campaign coming on there was room & an uncommonly good chance just now for a new political party with clean hands.
I am about to send you some photographs of Janet taken just before we had, alas, to have her hair bobbed [page 8] for boarding-school. I am sending them all to you so that you may make the first choice -- after which the others are to go to Mary, to Eleanor & Gertrude Smith, to Edith Nancrede & to Mrs Kohn. My only suggestion is that the one with the cello should go to Eleanor & Gertrude Smith, as Janet wishes them to have it. She has been very steady & persistent about wanting to play the cello -- ever since the days of Miss Poppe, I think, & this [page 9] fall we finally yielded to her great delight. She has the greatest sentiment & affection for this cello, which she has endowed with personal attributes & christened "[Graffenuff]."
She is blissful happy in boarding-school -- & [though] John & I are rather forlorn without her (we see her only for a little while on Sundays) we are very satisfied about her, & shall leave her in the spring for Oria with a fairly free mind. The head mistress is a fine creature, a friend & the cousin of my cousins, the [page 10] Roger Clarks.
I went 2 or 3 days ago to Woolwich to see the Maynards who are in great trouble, as Mr Maynard is, I fear, hopelessly ill with cancer. We talked much of you, & they showed me with pride their little etching of the H.H. doorway -- which reminds me that I have not yet thanked you for ours -- [though] I have had them pinned up on our walls for many days & have a daily pleasure with them. H.H., as I think you know, is more "home" to me than any other place in the world.
[written up left margin of page 1] We all join in love & greetings to you & to all our friends at H.H. Devotedly always yours,
Caroline Foulke Urie