A March Of Progress
Clara and Jack’s daughter had firm opinions on a woman’s right to vote . . .
HAVE you heard the news, Mother? Lloyd George has called a general election for December the fourteenth. Isn’t that exciting?”
“Why should that be of any concern to you, my girl?” Margaret’s father had entered the parlour to read his newspaper, only to be assailed by her animated chatter.
“But surely you realise, Father? Women will be able to vote for the first time.”
“Not all women. And you’re certainly too young to be eligible.”
“Mother is qualified, surely? She is over thirty and married to a homeowner.”
“Don’t be impertinent, child! Your mother’s age and marital status is not a suitable subject for discussion.”
“Don’t be hard on her, Jack,” Clara said, after their daughter had left the room. “Everyone is relieved that the war is over, especially the young. All this change has stirred her imagination.”
Clara was sure that the members of the House of Commons didn’t realise the effect their momentous decision would have on households across the country. Of course, it was a good thing that women should be enfranchised, but with that privilege came responsibility.
It also meant that women now had a voice, and some husbands might resent that.
“I’m lucky that Jack encourages me to take an interest in current affairs,” she had said only the day before to her friend Alicia. “I wish he would be a little more lenient with
Margaret, though. He’s far too protective.”
Clara often trod a fine line between supporting her husband’s demand for social niceties and decency, whilst also allowing their daughter the freedom to express herself. Almost every day she acted as mediator when Margaret’s ebullience clashed with Jack’s propriety.
But she supposed things could be worse. She was well aware that for some of the ladies in her embroidery circle, their husbands wouldn’t allow them to discuss world affairs or even read a newspaper.
Nevertheless, despite having a more liberalminded husband than most of her contemporaries, Clara found the tension between him and Margaret very difficult to keep under control.
Clara had admired the women who took part in the suffrage movement, but in the interests of matrimonial harmony she could only support them in her heart.
Although Jack had been overseas for much of the war, it would not have been proper for him to return and find out his wife had participated in disruptive actions.
The war might be over, but she feared there were more battles to be fought before they might return to some form of peaceful normality.
Clara remained in the parlour with her embroidery while waiting patiently for Jack to put down his newspaper and check his watch, which he always did just before they sat down to eat.
She felt that this would be a good time to bring up the matter of their daughter’s boundless curiosity and inexhaustible spirit.