2 December 2003
CHURCHILL, Sir W.L.S. Autograph letter signed ('Winston') to Pamela Plowden, Ladysmith, Natal, n.d. 22 March 1900, 4 pages, 8° (later annotation in pen to upper margin of first page.
PLANS FOR A PLAY ON THE SUBJECT OF THE BOER WAR: with characteristic restlessness, no sooner is the relief of Ladysmith completed than Churchill's mind moves on to new projects. 'I will write a play: scene South Africa: time: the war. a play of the Drury Lane autumn drama class ... It will be perfectly true to life in every respect and the scenic effects should be of such a novel and startling character that the audience will imagine themselves under fire'. Pamela is to put the idea to [H. Beerbohm] Tree, and if he agrees, Churchill will begin immediately, though 'Of course I should want a great deal of help in plot and execution'. Churchill writes perfunctorily of the death of an acquaintance ('Poor Cotton - it was very sad his dying'), with a note of jealousy -- 'I thought him a shallow and unstable creature ... I wonder at his having influenced you. It is very sad for you all your friends dying in the war. I trust I shall not fulfil the general rule'. Major Lafone [Pamela's brother-in-law] for whom Churchill brought Pamela's box of food into Ladysmith has gone home sick, so cannot profit from it: 'so I am going to eat it myself'.
Lady Randolph Churchill did not respond positively to her son's idea for a play when Pamela consulted her about it: 'Honestly it would not do ... it wd be thought bad taste'.
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