'How glad I shall be to see the last of them': DH Lawrence papers at auction

A scarce letter and very rare hand-written manuscripts of two short stories by D H Lawrence are part of an exceptional collection of papers and portraits put together by the Roy Davids which are being auctioned by Bonhams in London on March 29.

In the letter, estimated at £2,500, to his friend Henry Savage Lawrence writes: "...One's soul needs a stomach of bronze, to digest this damned life. But it's all right really...I think if I had a child coming...I should be happy...all the world starts again, right clean & jolly, when a child is born…the mother's blood ought to run in the womb like sunshine.

"Because we must all die, whereas we mightn't have been born. And when a child comes, something is which might never have been. And if it was my child I should be glad, whoever died, being old, or being in a cul de sac..."

The short story Delilah and Mr Bircumshaw, estimated at £10,000, was first written in 1910 and was rewritten in Germany in June 1912. It was not published in Lawrence's lifetime and was first printed in the Virginia Quarterly Review, 1940. It tells the story of how a bullying husband gets a taste of his own medicine at the hands of his wife and a snooty neighbour.

The handwritten manuscript of Delilah and Mr Bircumshaw, valued at £10,000


The other story, Laura Philippine, was written in 1927. The £6,000-valued manuscript was sent by Frieda Lawrence to Christine Hughes whose daughter Mary Christine was the original Laura Philippe of the story in which Lawrence sketches the aimless life of a flapper with its succession of cocktails and dances.

Lawrence wrote it after he came back from visiting the Hughes in Rome, a trip he described to a friend as a nightmare. "Mary C. frankly loathes anything that wants to be looked at - except herself, other girls, clothes and shops...oh, how glad I shall be to see the last of them," he wrote.

Complete manuscripts of imaginative works by Lawrence are extremely rare. Only one other has appeared at auction in the last thirty-five years making the two short stories extremely desirable.

Davids' collection also contains many other items of note for investors, including: a rare love letter from the dying John Keats, a William Blake letter detailing his watercolour, The Last Judgement, and a letter from Edward Lear that includes a tiny drawing of a dog.

An unused speech by Winston Churchill and a letter written by Gandhi augment what is expected to be an exciting auction.


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