25 SEPTEMBER 1936, Page 30

From Donegal to Mount Abu

Doneria Lawrence : A Fragment of Indian History. By 'MAO .Diver.' (Muria*y. 16i.) HON ORIA MARSHALL was a Donegal girl of unusual quality and charm, and the claim made for her, that she was one of the most remarkable women in the history of British India has much to justify it. She had indeed need to be remarkable, for no ordinary woman could have mated with Henry Lawrence Of, havc 'found in marriage with him a partnership which grew in richness with the passing years. Mrs. Diver has done well to make this readable and sympa thetic record of her kinswoman's life, and in doing it has supplied the reader with a singularly complementary volume to Professor Morison's Lawrence _of Lucknow which appeared a. year or two ago. Hers is a personal portrait, the picture of a woman by a woman, and it is drawn with knowledge and insight. But no one could write the story of Honoria's life Without making it also the story of her husband's. These two were inseparably wedded, though often separated by the ' demands of Sir Henry's career ; and rarely has a wife, in all the annals of British service in foreign parts, served her part more devotedly than Honoria Marshall did during those years of the making of modern India. Thus the story of the woman is the story of the man ; and this book is-at-once-`-` the portrait of a great man's wife " and the tale of his career as the creator of the Punjab administration and the hero of Lucknow.

On both counts it must appeal to a wide circle of readers. The early journal which Lady Lawrence kept, first at home in Donegal, and later written in camp, in dak-bungalows, On board ship, has the true autobiographic note ; while the letters which she wrote are enlivened on every page by shrewd comments on social surroundings and on the vicissitudes of Indian life a century ago. This Irish girl had no, use for the social trivialities of an Indian station. • She JtiOked everything and everybody by a high standard, softened with a kindliness and generosity which drew many to her. Often at the sacrifice of her own comfort and the thwarting of her dearest desires, she put her man's career First ; and,

if ever a man of action owed an unpayable debt to his wife, it was Henry Lawrence. He was no easy partner. Every reader of British Indian history knows the story of his relations with his superiors, of his .attitude to Lord Dalhousie, of his strained association with his brother John in Lahore, and they know, too, that it must often have needed all the tactful restraint which his wife could exercise to prevent him from doing and saying natural, unnecessary, irretrievable things. All this and much else is well told in Mrs. Diver's book. And if the critic, Censoriously seeking to' make a tithe of mint and cummin, finds her sense of history sometimes at fault, the greater number of her readers :will pass the flaws unnoticed, and read with pleasure every page of this life of

Honoria, the wife of Sir Henry Lawrence. A. F. WHITE.