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It proved a quieter week for me, and Thursday found us in the little lane, whence we made our way into the Palace gardens, as before, where we found Mr. Sheridan awaiting us, who led us to Mr. Murray's chamber. He was wonderfully busy with his writing, but turned from it to entertain us, and shewed us such attention it was no wonder our heads were nearly turned. He questioned us much about our plans, and, when he found I had no leaning towards the Church, made no scruple to belittle the calling of a priest, and seemed much pleased when I told him of my mind to take up arms as my profession.
"But the traps were to meet us at the grove," he reminded her. "We should have to walk all
Miss Robins, as you all know, entered the ranks of the militant suffragettes, and it was at a meeting of the W.S.P.U. that I met her and heard her speak. In the real sense, she has no gift of speech. When she has to address an audience, she prepares her words beforehand, memorises them, and then delivers them with the lucidity, 179the passion and the eloquence of a great actress. I think I have heard all the best-known women speakers from Lady Henry Somerset up to Mrs Pankhurst, but though my admiration of Mrs Pankhurst’s brave and proud gifts scarcely knows a limit, I consider that Miss Robins surpasses her in her power of sweeping an audience along with her and in her great gift of quickening the spirit and urging it upwards to the heights of an enthusiasm that does not quickly die....
"No, thanks. I want to get back to Flamme and join in something mild, like a dinosaur hunt."
That afternoon, at the formal ceremony of “opening” the institute, my warning concerning the suffragettes was nearly prophetic. Mr Lloyd George, of course, did all in his power to quell the mob’s anger, but the women were violently assaulted, their breasts beaten, their clothes ripped from their backs, their hair torn by the roots from their heads.... On the edge of the mêlée I saw P. W. Wilson standing deploring it.
fights and runs away may live to fight another day.’ Now, you stand here and watch our pilot every second of the time, while I speak to the skipper.”
purpose, for I came to the conclusion that my book itself may be regarded as a historical fact, and that the kindly and indulgent reader may even be glad to know what one, who has lived wholly in the science and taken an interest in everything in it old and new, thought from fifteen to eighteen years ago of the then reigning theories, representing as he did the view of the majority of his fellow-botanists.
There he was, the same old usual Hayley, as much put to it as the merest fribble of his set to employ an hour unfilled by poker! I was glad he viewed me as a possible alternative, and laughingly told him so. He laughed too—we were on terms of brotherly equality—and told me to go ahead and read two or three notes which had arrived in my absence. “Gad—how they shower down on a fellow at your age!” he chuckled.
He was so full of his new resolve and so anxious to tell Eleanor, that he completely overlooked the unusually chastened air of the dinner-table that evening. He was trying to make an appointment with Eleanor by some almost invisible signal, and she persistently avoided his eloquent stare. Only twice did she meet his eyes, and on both occasions she turned away her head almost immediately. It seemed that he had lost all that he believed he had gained at the conclusion of their walk. Yet it was impossible that anything could have happened since, to change her new opinion of him. In any case, he would see her after dinner, even if he had to follow her upstairs. She would forgive him when she heard what he had to say.
At last he had opportunity to think! So the fiery statesman, Themistocles, was gone, and he, Cimon, had been instrumental in bringing this about! Well he knew that he had done his utmost to prevent this toward the last. He had humbled himself that Themistocles might not be thought guilty of treason, and all this was for the purpose of obtaining the girl he loved. He realized that whether by force of will or unconsciously he was drawing nearer and nearer to the home of Themistocles. He paused before the entrance, ascended the steps and lifted the bronze knocker. There was no response, so he gently pushed open the door and entered. All was still. He proceeded cautiously to the solarium and found it empty, but from this room the faint sound of voices came to his listening ear. They proceeded from the garden, so thither he betook himself. From the top of a short flight of stone steps which led to the garden, he surveyed the abundance of plants and shrubbery which he thought surpassed even those in the garden of Pasicles. He caught sight of two female figures seated upon a bench at the farther end of the garden. They were Ladice and Asia, the youngest daughter of Themistocles. The girls seemed to be indulging in mutual consolation.
Hubert coloured faintly. "No, my grandfather got me a job in a Government office," he said. "I wanted to join up, but he wouldn't let me. I'm sort of steward to this place, you know. There are a couple of farms and so on to look after. Not that I have much to do. However, what I mean is that my grandfather made a tremendous point of keeping me out of the Army, and it was rather difficult for me to disobey him right out. He's—he's not altogether easy to handle."
The address was heavy, obvious and dull. I was taken back twenty years to my boyhood when stern parents compelled me to go to a Wesleyan chapel one hundred and three times a year (twice every Sunday and once on Christmas Day); on most of those hundred and three occasions I used to hear exhortations to be “good,” not, so to speak, for the love of the thing, but because being “good” paid. Mr Arthur Henderson, Samuel Smiles redivivus, proved that it paid. He didn’t say: “Look at me!” but, all the same, we did look at him. The spectacle to most of his congregation was, I suppose, encouraging; me, it didn’t excite. I can well believe 177that, as I stepped out of the building, I said to myself: “No, Gerald. We will remain as we are. The penalties of virtue are much too heavy for us to pay.”