Letter from Mary Neal to Emmeline Pethick Lawrence. The child she refers to, David, came to live with her, aged 6 in 1918. 'David's father' makes frequent visits.
Credit: Private possession
“…was a wish to see you as his only stimulous, I seem to depress him although I did everything I possibly could for him & Phyllis – even shampooed her hair!
Such a touching thing happened the evening he (added in pencil/biro in ? Esther Knowles’ hand) ie David’s father who had been spending his summer with M.N.) left. I sent David to the station to see him off & came back in the car and he returned as cheerful as possible, played all aft. & went up to bed quite happy and called out ‘ready’ in a cheerful voice for me to bath him. /
When I went up in half a minute he was sitting naked on the bed sobbing his heart out. I thought (pen given out) (written from now on in pencil) he had hurt himself somehow & it was some minutes before he got out “I am crying because Daddy has gone” I pointed out that he had refused to go out with his father several times preferring to stay with Artie & then he said “That is why I am crying”. M.W. had told me that the Archer people and the clinic had got to the point in his wife’s analysis when she was not allowed /
to express open grief at a much loved sister’s death, so I let David cry as much as he wanted & then suggested he should come down after his bath & sit by the fire a bit instead of going to bed. Well, he sat on my knee nearly an hour & we scarcely spoke & gradually his poor little nerves stopped quivering & he got sleepy. Somehow without any speaking we managed to come to a complete understanding & he went to bed quite happy & slept like a top. /
Since then he has been specially good & happy and very loving. But if a mother had even six children, how could this method be ‘used’? He is really a most fascinating child. Thank you so much of the Shaw book. I have nearly finished it but have rather a difficulty in getting through it. The other book came today & looks so interesting that I shall sent it to you & and not back to Esther which I will do /
Would you like me to send you back the last £5 you gave me for David before I square up & pay everything in to the Trust Fund? I will do so gladly/
All my love
Would there by any chance of the ????s ??letting their cottage cheap for the Xmas holidays for M.W to ??? & family …I got Freda to take charge. I am almost sure she will after a talk I had all other things being equal. But - I’ll tell you all about the plan when I see you.