A March Of Progress

The People's Friend Special - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.