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On Politics
by [?]

Perhaps you don’t think me competent to talk about politics? “What do women know about such things?” asks the superior masculine mind.

Well, they don’t know so much as men, I admit, and I earnestly hope they never will. A woman who is infected with politics is a positive pest, and should be removed at once. If I do not know anything about them, at any rate I ought to, as I have been brought up in a raging Tory household, and so have been steeped in them from my youth up.

There is such a sameness in politicians. Whatever their opinions, their language and feelings are all one. They are only directed at different people. While one man is gloating over a Conservative victory you hear a mutter from the Radical to the effect that “That brute has got in for —-” Poor man, why, because he thinks differently to you, should he be a brute? But just the same words are spoken if the positions be reversed. It is only the mouths that change places.

I am afraid my views incline toward the Tory side. I cannot help it, I was bought over long ago. You must feel an interest as to the successful candidate when the result means either a tip all round or a thundery atmosphere for the rest of the day. Men take an adverse poll as a personal affront and vent their feelings on their families. The tipping was quite an understood thing when I was younger, now it is given up, and joy is shown in a less substantial way, I regret to say. Unfortunately the thunder storms are not events of the past as well.

Politicians have such a narrow way of looking at things. The other side can do nothing right while they themselves are absolutely faultless! If a Tory wishes to confer an opprobrious epithet on a person he calls him a Radical, and vice versa; the opposite faction is capable of any enormity? This reminds me of the old Scotchman who on being asked his opinion of a man who had first murdered and then mutilated his victim, answered in a shocked voice, “What do I think? Well, I think that a maun who’d do all that would whistle on the Sawbuths!” “Such a man must be a Home Ruler,” my father would have said.

In having a guest with opposite views at your dinner table, what agonies do you not suffer? I have gone through those dreadful meals trembling at every word that drops from the man’s lips. Try as you may, turn the conversation how you will, there is sure to be some allusion, some statement that sets on fire all the host’s enthusiasm, and it does not take long before the poor guest is entirely annihilated and subdued–unless indeed he is as hot on his side as the other is on his; then indeed all we can do is to sit and hear it out. To attempt to stem such a torrent would be the act of a lunatic. We only feel thankful that “pistols for two and coffee for one” is a thing of the past.

The General Elections are dreadful times; nothing but canvassing goes on night after night for weeks beforehand. Conversation is entirely restricted to the coming event–if you mention a word about anything apart from it, you are considered absolutely profane, and are treated as a pariah for the next few days.

It is interesting, I admit, and the election day itself is positively exciting. You cannot help catching the malady at times. I remember once, when I was very little, and walking out with my governess, tearing down a Liberal bill, in spite of all she said to the contrary. True, it was on what she considered her own side, though I don’t think she knew enough to distinguish between the two; still her real annoyance was occasioned more by the look of the thing. That a pupil of hers should act in such a plebeian way, and in so public a place, certainly must have been somewhat provoking? Anyhow, she gave me a bad mark for disobedience, which affected me but little, as when I related the story to my father later on he rewarded me with a shilling for my prowess! Electioneering, you see, is not good for the morals!