Suffragettes – Stories from Parliament (Part 2 of 2)
Articles Blog

Suffragettes – Stories from Parliament (Part 2 of 2)

November 30, 2019

>>Narrator:Stories from Parliament.Votes For Women Part 2>>Constance: As Lady Constance Lytton, with
influential friends, I’d been given special treatment in prison. Would I be treated differently
if I changed my appearance and my name? I decided I would join the suffragettes’
next march of protest disguised as an ordinary working woman – a woman by the name of “Jane
Warton”. I went to buy a pair of glasses and the plainest,
least fashionable dress and coat and hat, and had my hair cut short. I could tell my
ugly disguise was a success.>>Gentleman: You know ladies – I think she’s
actually bought that hat! [Men and women’s laughter.]>>Constance: I felt embarrassed as well as
pleased by my disguise. But this was nothing compared to what my fellow suffragettes were
going through in prison. Many were now on hunger strike – refusing
to take food – and being forced to eat in the cruellest way. So I travelled by train
up to Liverpool to join the protest outside the prison, where we knew this cruel treatment
was in force. In front of the prison governor’s house
Miss Emily Davison spoke to the assembled crowd:>>Emily Davison: If there are no men in Liverpool
who’ll stand up for these prisoners here, let the women do their part! Stay and blockade
the governor’s house ‘til the prisoners are released!>>Constance: Two policemen seemed to have
their eyes fixed on me. I was determined to get arrested and imprisoned, so I began to
throw the stones I was holding – though I didn’t throw them at the governor’s
windows. All I did was drop them over the hedge into
his garden! But that was enough!>>Policeman: Right! That’s it!>>Constance: The two policemen grabbed me
by the arms and marched me off to the station. Miss Davison struck one of them on the back:>>Emily Davison: Let her go! She’s done
nothing! Let her go, I say!>>Constance: So she was arrested, too. [Sounds of a cell door being slammed and locked.]>>Constance: I was sentenced to fourteen
days’ hard labour. And thanks to my disguise, Jane Warton – as I now was – received
none of the special treatment that had been offered to “Lady Lytton”.
Now I learned exactly what my fellow suffragettes were subjected to. [Cell door opens.]>>Constance: Each day a wardress brought
me all my meals but as each meal was brought to my cell… I don’t want any, thank you.>>Wardress: (unsympathetic) Very well. [Cell door shuts.]>>Constance: Then, on the fourth day, a doctor
entered my cell, with five wardresses.>>Medical Officer: So, then…>>Wardress: This one’s Jane Warton.>>Medical Officer: Jane Warton – and this
is your fourth day without food. You must be fed at once. But I would urge you to take
food willingly – you’ll find it much more pleasant.>>Constance: When our government gives votes
to women, I shall eat.>>Medical Officer: [impatient and annoyed]
This is absurd behaviour! All started by that Dunlop woman!>>Constance: Miss Wallace Dunlop began the
hunger strikes and all imprisoned suffragettes now follow her example!>>Medical Officer: Very well. Let’s lie
her down on her bed. [Sounds of forcing her down onto her bed,
and her resisting.]>>Medical Officer: Why must you women resist,
this is no way to help your cause.>>Constance: Then he thrust a tube down my
throat I choked as it reached inside. Down and down it went. Then the sloppy liquid food
was poured in It made me sick in seconds. It seemed an eternity
before they took the tube out. I knew that “Lady Constance Lytton” would
not have been treated like this. But ordinary “Jane Warton” was a despised, helpless
creature, and when she was out of prison, no one would believe a word she said!
There were so many Jane Wartons in our land; we had to help them, by winning votes for
women. [Sounds of struggle in the next cell] Before long, through the wall, I heard the
sounds of forced feeding in the next cell to mine. It was almost more than I could bear.
But at last the ghastly process was over and all was quiet.>>Constance: Then I tapped on the wall… And called out… No surrender! Votes for
Women! And there came an answer from beyond the wall.>>Emily Davison: (muffled) No surrender!
Votes for women!>>Constance: I think it was Miss Davison
– I couldn’t be sure. But now as I think back I am quite sure of her most famous deed… [Sounds of a horse race, and an excited crowd.]>>Constance: On June 4th, 1913, Emily Davison
was at the front of the crowd at the Epsom Derby. With the horse race in full flow, she
stepped under the barrier and on to the track. Two horses thundered past her, but as another
– the King’s horse – galloped round the bend, she lunged towards it and was bowled
over and trampled under its hooves. [Sounds of thundering hooves, whinnying horses,
and cries of shock.] Some said it was suicide, to bring attention
to our cause. But Emily had bought a return ticket to the race: I
believe that she had no intention of dying as she did. I believe that she was trying
to hang a Suffragette flag on the passing horse, so that when it crossed the finishing
line the King’s own horse would be flying the slogan: “Votes for Women”.
Perhaps it was a turning point – I don’t know. It had taken years, but in 1918, women
were given the vote – [dissatisfied] if they were over 30.
Perhaps in time women will have the vote on the same terms as men. Perhaps one day they
will even be elected themselves. I hope for this at least: that anyone in future times
who has the right to vote will use it and will remember the struggles of the suffragettes.
Deeds, not words! Deeds, not words! [Music]

Only registered users can comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *