Friday, 22 March 2013

Some half-baked crank notion

‘. . . I won’t have you ruin your life for some half-baked crank notion that thinks the way to get votes for women is to bomb railway trains. Don’t you see it’s the last thing that can work — no government, not even that weak-kneed rabble of Asquith’s, dare give into terror and vandalism? Anyway, they’ll have a dam’ sight more important things to think of shortly, with this next war that the country’s spoiling for.’ Sir Harry snorted derisively. ‘Look at ’em — legions of bloodthirsty lunatics drilling in Ireland, workers within an ace of a general strike — dammit, even you women have got the fighting fever, with your smashing and bombing and shooting up locomotives. Any fool can see it’ll end in civil war — or more likely our tackling the Kaiser when he takes a slap at Russia or France, which he’s itching to do. Your votes are going to look like small beer, Button — which is why you’re sure to get ’em in the end, and much good they’ll do you. But war or not, you’ll get ’em all the faster if you lie low and work away quietly.’

Mr American, pp.428-9, Pan Books, paperback edition 1982.

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