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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Thursday, December 24th., Hotel Belvedere, Vevey.

Our Anglo-Indian is a major in the army. I only learnt this last night. It probably accounts for his excellent stupidity which inspires respect. His wife, at first very rebarbative, grows more likeable every day.
Also see 'Indian ideas', December 17th., -

Some of them began talking about Suffragettes last night after I had said to the Major, seeing him reading The Times, "So Christabel is out it seems." A Yorkshire young woman asked Mrs. Major if she was a sympathiser. "On the contrary", said Mrs. Major "I am very much ashamed of them". The usual rot was talked. However Mrs. Major said that she thought women ought to be on certain committees. The young Yorkshire lass said she thought woman's place was in the home. (It is incredible how people still talk) I then burst out impatiently: "Yes, and what about the millions of them that have to leave home every day to earn a living? What about the mill girls and the typists?" This quite unsettled them. They then agreed that unmarried women ought to have the vote. But their whole talk and the phrases they used were too marvellously stupid.

Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst with Flora Drummond
in the dock at Bow Street Magistrates.
On the 13th October, 1908 the WSPU held a large demonstration in London and then tried to enter the House of Commons. There were violent clashes with the police and 24 women were arrested, including Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, who were sentenced to three months in prison. After her release Christabel Pankhurst recorded a speech to promote Suffragist ideas. This an interesting example of very early recorded speech. It’s extremely rare – very few speeches were recorded before the First World War. And in fact it would be unusual for Pankhurst to be making a recording like this. She would have been much more used, as a leading feminist fighting for women’s right to the vote, to be outside in the open air on a street corner. This was a really important period for street corner oratory, long before radio and television began to have an impact. She would have been used to talking to huge crowds. What we have in this recording is a slightly disappointing, rather scripted speech. There’s something of the message there but it lacks the vigour and spontaneity that you would expect from an outdoor speech of that particular time.

Additionally for December 24th., see 'Five Towns people' -

I came to Burslem yesterday afternoon with Tertia and William and a headache.
Went out this morning and saw numbers of people.
Walking to Hanley this afternoon I was struck by the orange-apple cold Christmas smell of grocers shops.

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