Posts Tagged ‘Hunger Strike’

Saturday 17th July

July 17, 2009

I can’t get up this morning. The cleaner came and swept out my cell. She smiled at me and it made me so weepy. The Doctor has been and tried to persuade me to give up the Hunger Strike by saying  I was not so robust as the others, what would my Mother say and so on. I had to make a fool of my self when he had gone. The Governor and Matron have just been to say the Herbert Gladstone has written that he has fully considered the petitions but sees no reason why he should take action which proves he could if he would. The Chaplain just looked in.

A visiting magistrate has just been and seemed very sympathetic.  He says he will inform H. Gladstone that nothing but 1st Division will satisfy us. He says 4 more suffragettes came in yesterday. I expect they are Freedom Leaguers. Dinner has just been brought in and it is now 72 hours since I tasted food. “Great your strength if great your need.”

Tremendous excitement. Mary Allen has just come down to the cell next to mine. She has been in Dx til now. Miss Spring has been taken back to Dx because she was ill I think. Mary Allen has broken more windows when she heard H G’s reply. It has quite bucked me up.

There has been a butterfly in my cell all day. It beat itself against the window at night and made such a noise until I got up and put it in a paper bag.


Thursday 15th July 1909

July 15, 2009

I heard a bell this morning so I dressed.  Wardresses came. “Any applications?”  I asked for the Governor and the Doctor. They brought in a little pan of water, towel and a bit of soap. I went to the lavatory and came back to find that an india-rubber pint jar of water and a comb had also been left in my cell. How long, oh Lord! How long?

I lie on the bed, I feel so weak. Breakfast  has just been put in. They have changed my diet to the vegetarian and so have brought a lump of butter beside the usual. I said I did not want any, God help me. I wonder if those outside are thinking of us. I am a coward. A day of reckoning will come for the Governor. Oh, Nell, I am glad you are not here. It is hard to bear. Perhaps if your turn comes we shall have won the battle.

No sunshine can get into this cell. At night there is a gas jet burning over the door. Always a dull light. However my room at Stamford and Metcalf’s where I sat for 4 years was not much lighter than this.

(Here our Suffragette has sketched two small drawings of her cell)

Suffragette's cell

Suffragette's cell 2

I have seen the Doctor. He argued with me about the unreasonableness of our conduct. He says he will try and let me have my ointment.  After the Doctor left they changed the india-rubber jar for an earthenware one. The Chaplain came. He was rather nice. A  wardress who came with him tried to argue that our conduct was retarding the Cause etc etc.

The Chaplain asked if there was anything I wanted. I said I wanted a good many things and supposed we should not be allowed a library book. He said he thought we should have one but he was going to see the Governor about us being down here. We are practically underground  for the window just seems to come to the ground level. He said he was very sorry to see us here.

I could not keep back a few tears when he had gone. I feel so weak. I forgot to say that a wardress brought in a Bible, Prayer Book and Hymn Book this morning. i have  spent the time reading them. “Fight the good fight of faith”  I like the hymn. “The Son of God goes forth to war “and 14th John. I read the marriage service over. I thought it would get my blood up so I read Paul’s opinions on the duties of a wife. They have not removed my mattress. I have spent all day lying on it.

I suppose Mother and Father are enjoying the sea air at Bridlington. Thank God they don’t know where I am. The bang of the double doors is terrible. It seems strange to think of all who we love going about their business in the usual way while we ………

Oh! I do feel blubbery. I expect it is because I am losing my strength. I am not usually given to weeping but I feel I should like to have a jolly good cry.

I wonder what was in the papers about us, whether there were any questions in the House. I heard a wardress say something about Kier Hardy. I applied to see the Governor but he has not been yet.  I hear knocking on the walls and all the prisoners are shouting that they have not eaten their food. Neither have I. Dinner consisted of an egg and potatoes and a pint of milk and (Oh! awful temptation) a boiled onion.

I am getting disinclined to write even.

The Governor’s been.  I asked if yesterday’s proceedings were to be considered as Herbert Gladstone’s reply. He said that the visiting Magistrates were a separate body and acted on their own initiative. Herbert  Gladstone had not replied. I expect the visiting magistrates get the orders from Gladstone as I saw my sentence was written down before I was tried and the others who came after me.