53. From Madeleine Slade or Miraben1
63, Bedford Gardens,
Campden Hill,
London, W. 8, Paris,
May 29, 1925
I thank you profoundly for having answered my first letter to you—I had never dared to hope such a thing! I have eagerly taken to heart all you said, and I now venture to write to you again, my year of self- imposed trial being more than half over.
The first impulse has never faded, but on the contrary my desire to serve you has grown ever more and more fervent. It is impossible to express in words the greatness of the inspiration which impels me but I pray God with all my heart that I may be able to give expression to my love in work—in acts. However humble they may be they will at least be utterly sincere.
And now I want to put before you my most earnest request:
May I come to your Ashram to study spinning and weaving, to learn to live your ideals and principles in daily life, and indeed to learn in what way I may hope to serve you in the future? In order to become a fit servant of your cause I feel the absolute necessity of that training and I will do my very best to be a not too unworthy pupil if you will accept me!
In the meantime I continue my preparations as best I can. I spin and weave (only with wool, nobody seeming to know about the management of cotton in France or England). With the aid of many kind Indian friends I perplex my head over long Hindustani exercises I read. What a revelation is that reading! The more I enter into Indian thought, the more I feel as if I were reaching at last, a long lost home.
In matters of daily life I simplify as much as is possible under present circumstances. I have given up the drinking of all wines, beers or spirits, and I no longer eat meat of any kind.
My being is filled with a great joy and a great anguish. The joy of giving all I have to you and to your people and the anguish of being able to give so little.
I pine for the day when I shall come to India. Alas, there are still five months to wait! I reach Bombay on November 6th, and if I am permitted to join the Ashram I will take the train that evening arriving at Ahmedabad the next morning.
Dear Master, may I come?
Please do not think of troubling to reply to this letter yourself, but perhaps you could send me a word of answer through someone else.
Ever your humble and most devoted servant,

PS. Enclosed are two little samples of wool which I have spun.
Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XXVII, pp. 474-75

1 Smt. Miraben, Miss Madeleine Slade (1892-1982) - Daughter of admiral Sir Edmond Slade. Her interest in music and devotion to Beethoven's works led her to Romain Rolland, which contact led her in turn to Gandhiji. Left Europe for India, and joined Gandhiji at Sabarmati in November 1925; accompanied Gandhiji to London in 1931; imprisoned 1932-33, 1942-44; established a small Ashram and Cattle Development Centre in the Rishikesh forest area in 1947, now known as Pashulok.