Votes for Women: The Story of a Struggle

Votes for Women: The Story of a Struggle

Votes for Women: The Story of a Struggle

Votes for Women: The Story of a Struggle

Excerpt

From the vantage-ground reached by human beings in the middle of the twentieth century, with the sky stormy and the path arduous, the years before 1914 seem to lie in the background, like a golden valley, where all is order and content ment. Travellers still with us, who knew that happy land, attempt ing to recall some scene or anecdote from that vanished world, often preface their tale with some such words as 'It was before '14'. The listener almost seems to catch the anguish in their tone-- to sense from that plaintive cry something of what is implied for them in the shift from certainty to disorder. Talleyrand, who was no mere laudator temporis acti, said of the world before the French Revolution that only those who had lived then could know the sweetness of life. Similarly in the seventeenth century in England people, contrasting the dire events of the middle of that century-- the catastrophes and bitterness of civil war--with the serenity and elegance of earlier decades, looked backwards with sorrow. This particular point has been expressed with all his characteristic feeling and perception by LordDavid Cecil in his book Two Ouiet Lives when he observes that even if the dwellers in seventeenth- century England could escape the full shock of the storm of those injurious years 'its rumour reverberated always in the distance, its shadow brooded darkly over the landscape. An uneasy sadness pervaded the spirit'. So might it be said of human beings in mid- twentieth-century England.

Yet it is possible that in reality the years before 1914 were neither quite so golden nor quite so prosaic as they appear to-day. For the war created no changes and reforms; it merely accelerated . . .

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