xt70rx937t9n_504 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt70rx937t9n/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt70rx937t9n/data/46m4.dao.xml unknown 13.63 Cubic Feet 34 boxes, 2 folders, 3 items In safe - drawer 3 archival material 46m4 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Laura Clay papers Temperance. Women -- Political activity -- Kentucky. Women's rights -- Kentucky. Women's rights -- United States -- History. Women -- Suffrage -- Kentucky. Women -- Suffrage -- United States. Votes for Women review and photograph text Votes for Women review and photograph 2020 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt70rx937t9n/data/46m4/Box_18/Folder_5/Multipage21587.pdf 1907 1907 1907 section false xt70rx937t9n_504 xt70rx937t9n  



46'} I   ”U,L
A Harm furififiumm .





 [London Correspondence Chicago Record-Herald]



“\Vhat do you call the greatest evil in the
world? ” says the inquiring woman in “ Votes
for \Vomen” to the thinking woman.

The answer is, “"he helplessness of

This play is the most important, most
vital, and most interesting modern work
now visible 011 the London bstage. It is b '
Miss Elizabeth Robins, an American woman
who has lived for many years in London,
who wrote, among other things, those two

good novels, “ The O pen Question” and
‘g‘The Dark Lantern,” and who was one of
the first English—speaking actresses to as—
sume the characters of 1b ‘en.

“Votes for W omen” of course intensely
local and timely in its ap lication, but, like
most plays which are that its appeal is, or
ought to be, universal. Itl 1as the tang of
Shaw, without his brutality, and thatb i11-
sight into the heart of woman which is
Piner’so 1 greatest gift. There 1s the rigorous
Greek quality 111 her construction, the De11ti1e
action tr 111sp1r1nLT between noon of a Sunday
alnd six o’clock in the evening of the same
c ay.

The piece bears, of course, upon the “suf—

fr agette” moV ement that has 1ecenth1' been,
if not co llsing, at least ext1e111elV' vexing
England. 1he papeis have been full of it,
and many bitter and seine ridiculous things
have been sai '1 he thread of story upon
which Miss Robins hangs her statement of
the case is simple and conventional enough,
but it serves all her purposes. Here the
treatment is e ' 1'thing, and Miss Robins’s
treatment is V 1d, searching, and vigorous.

Her first act is leisure conversation, her
second blazes with 11011 .st human passion,
and her third 1s feminine psV cholog That
second act, a wonderful piece of craftsman—
ship, as well as of clear, sharp, strong writ—
ing, is a unique thing in modern dramatic
literature. The germ and inspiration of it
are to be found, ever body will say,
forum scene of “Juhus Cmsar.” Cat— calls
from a group of idlers and four long speeches
by woman’s suffrage advocates make up
this act, which holds an audience to a pain—
ful tension, and leaves them tired out with
laughter and with the s11 11 gle to keep from

Never was material le s dramatic made to
produce effects so remarkable Last eVen—
ing, when the present writer saw the pla. ,
there was ahnost as much laughter 11d chee —
ing and emotion 011 the spectator: side of
the footlights as there VV1 011 the actors’
side, and the same demonstrations, now of
silence, now of respectful attention, now of
sympathy and of grief, that the leading
players in the scene coinmanded from the
mimic mob, they also commanded from the
people in the auditorium. It ceased to be
play acting and became life. The heart
suffered with the eager, earnest men and
women pleading with the mob for a hearing,
and, in the same breath the sense of 111111101
was roused and tickled by the rough, rich
Lhollery of the mob’s comments.

But first a bare outline of the story to
give point to d ription and allusion. A
young woman v 1ting at a country house
in Hertfordshire s disclosed as that familiar
figure of English problem drama, “the
woman with a p.st ” She has loved, been
111— used, and suffered, and she has come
through the fire, not unscathed, but str‘ongeI.
Her story 15 vaguely known to c e1 tain women
of position, who helped her in her trouble.
1 he man 111 the case has “passed out of her
life.” She has made her 1111s ake a means
to spiritualg «race.

The man, son of a noble house, has won a
place in politics. The two, long separated,
meet at this country house. A qul 'er of
eyelashes makes known to the audience
their recognition, and later 111 the act a more
overt betrayal a trifle of craftsmanship in
which Miss 'Robins’s touch 1s ver 'ingenious
gives the girl who is betrothed to 0the poli—
tician her C'first vague suspicion of the rela—
tion that may have existed between him and
the st'a 1nge, ardent c1eature in whom she has
found the filst genuine inspiration of her

After a great deal of pungent conversat' ‘ 1
on social questions —-not dogmatic, tedious
stuff, but good, meaty, gripping thoughts 011
things that people ought to think about, —
this bgirl determines to accompany her new
and wonderful friend to a Sunda afternoon
mass meeting in Trafalgar Square, where
there are to be speeches 011 the question of
female suffrage and on the 1ecent failure of
efforts of theD suffragists to vain their cause
a hearing' In the House of Commons.

That meeting is the second act, and at it
the young woman of position is made a con-
vert. Incidentally the1e is fuIther betrayal
of her betlothed’s secret, and the curtain
descends 011 her 11 gross through the 111011
to the base of the Nelsm n1onun1e11t f1L1111
which V ida Lever 111g ,the philanthropist and
reformer, and her associates have been speak-
ing. She will be henceforth not only Vida’s
friend, but her ally 111 the work of ameliorat—
ing the condition of the “shelterless women’

of cLondon.

I11 the third act the convert breaks with
the politician and demands, for the sake of
his own self—respect, that he shall make what
reparation he can to V ida Levering for the
wrong he did her years before. He 1s shamed
into acquiescence. and he makes the offer.

Vida Leveling 1s not, however, the kind of
woman to whom a loveless marriage with a
man whom she had been for 'ears trying
to forget would mean either e lation 01' re-
habilitation. She 1s greater than that.

By speeches of exquisitely subtle self-
analysis, of mournful retrospect, and of spir—
itual revelation, that fact is ma:de clear, and
the deepest springs of the man’s nature are
touched. A pure, fresh stream of nobler
purpose than he has ever known gushes
forth. ’ida Levering has said to the girl
that loved her that T‘thc man who served
one woman, and God knows how many more,
very ill, shall now serve hundreds of thou—
sands of women well.” In a word, she will
enl him in the cause which looks to the
amelioration of what she has called “the
greatest evil in the world,———the helplessness
of women.”

The best instincts of the man of the world
and the successful politician are roused.
The nature of the atonement he is to make
Charms his inherited conception of chivalry
and appeals to his newly quiekened moral
sense. He will do it, he will do it! We

in the -

wonder 110w long his purpose holds out and
whither it takes him. “1 e nev or know.
’1he curtain falls. V ida Levering has stood
a moment behind him with her hand 011 the
door. He has not seen the look in her eyes

the look that tells what men usually do 1111ss.

All the sorrow of womanhood is in it. It
is the long gaze of p y, of yearning, of aloof-
11 ,of hope, of solicitilde, of wistful antici—
pation that some good will come of reso—
lutions new—born, of aching fear that noth—
ing shall be brought to pass. \Vomen bear
more than children into this worl '
people men’s hearts with high purposes
and then they see them die.

>l< :1 :1. :1: :1:

If this bald survey of Miss Robins’s play
leaves out all impresmon of the grip of her

“drama, ” that is not her fault, but the fault
of her 1' viewer. She has taken material
that might be made intolerably prosaic,
banal, and didactic and she has br eathed a
warm humanity into every line of it. Her
Vida Leve1ing is a L‘ha' ‘1cter of monumental
dignity, and she 1s defined witah state ' de—
cisiveness that suggests a figure hewn from
marble. Her pride, her calm bealing of a
personal grief, coupled with her passionate
ardor in the cause of other women; her
faculty for clear thinking and her skill in
straight speaking her infinite tenderness;
and her tremendous courage, her reticence,
her honesty, e her sin-
gular loveline. ' and interest.

She could be a martyr, but never a fanatic.
She makes fine and gracious a cause that has
been made ludicrous through the espousal
of it by cranks and eccentiics She is strong
and gentle, very sorrowful and very win-
ning. She is a new figure in the long pro—
cess1on of “women with a past,” and, con-
sidering her as an intellectual and spiritual
force in modern life, she is a representative
of those people who are (in he1 own words)

“grappling very inadequately, of course,
but still grappling, with the big questions of
the day."

They ask her what she was doing when,
clad in shabby raiment, she went at night
among “the shelterles1 women of London.”

“I was 011 a pilgrimagel into the under-
world,” she replies, and add s, —

“ Ah, you ’11 never know how many things
are hidden from a woman in good clothes.

:1: :1: >1: >1: *

The Trafalgar Squaie scene—the scene
that has made the play the ensation of Lon—
don because of its pa .1011ate veracity and
its amazing stagecraft—is peppered with
good lines and it throbs with great actinLT.
'1 he cultain rises 011 the g1im base of the
black old monument. A crowd of Sunday
strollers fills the staLTe —beggars, soldie ..,
newsboy casual rs—by whom c1111-
osity 11 piompted to pause. Every face
in the throng is an etching; every partici—
pant, even though his lines be limited to a 1

at— call or a mutter, is obV iously at1ained
actor. This mob' is alive. It never recedes
from or drops out of the picture. Every—
thing it does, every surging movement, every
cry‘, every murmur every ribald jest, eV e1 v
gush of sympathy, every token of respectful

attention that is wrung from it by the fich
speaker1,—-all are fused and blended and
toned into a perfect semblance of life.

Compared with this mob, Mansfield’s
mob in “ Iulius Caesar” becomes a set tab—
leau. Not even the 111011 111 “'1 he “7 eavers’
was so veracious as this mob that every
American st age manager ought to come to
see and studyD until ev ery dc 'l in its amaz—
ing richness and fidelity is etched into his
111emL1rV' for the rest of his professional c.1—
1'ee1'. This masterly act gave the writer the
old deep tlnill that he hadn’t known in the
theatre for years and it drove home deep
meanings, too. It would perhaps be too
much to say that that s 11'1'ing half-hour
made him a sufi'I aLTist, but it made him 1111-
derstand and respect the suff1agist’s point
of view. lhat w s something.

“VVhat’s politic ?” cried a gaunt, grave-
faced woman spe. ake1, representatlvc of the
(1 cent el 1ent in the low er class,‘ ‘why, it’s
ousekeel 111’ 011 a big scale. The govern-
11 ent’s in a muddle because it’s been tryin ’
to do the ’ousekecpin’ without the women.

Some say a woman ought to stop at
’ome an’ mind the ’ouse. Don’t you know
that a third of the women in this country

:an ’t afford to stay ’ome? They’ve got to
go out an’ ’elp earn the rent ”

Once in the course of her speech a queru-
lous voice in the crowd jeered, “You go ’ome
an’ nuss the baby ” The woman searched
out the man with her eyes, and 111 them there
was something of lione something of Mn—
donna. Her voice brok and was gentle
but proud when she said: “I do nuss my
baby. I’ve 1111. ed seven.’ An instant’s
hush fell upon the throng. Some of the
men looked down ashamed.

:1: :1: :1: >1: :1:

The next SpO‘IkCl‘V was V in Levering, i111—
personated by Miss Edith \ 1111c Matthison,
whom we 111 America remember for her glori—
ous inter'pletation of the poetry of “Every-

She began Vida’s speech to the mob in
faltering tones, her voice often breaking.
She related some inc lents illustrating the
woes of the homeless children and shelterless
women of London, and the substance of her
plea was that such cases, often involving
drastic legal penalties instead of charitable
mi1 ._t1ations, should be adjudicated by

At first they were abashed, then recep—
ti . and at last a great awe fell upon them,
and their faces, as they gazed up at the
beautiful woman, who often brushed tears
from her eyes and p1 scd a nervous hand
to her trembling lips grew gentle. She
wrouLTht upon them with the Spell of pity
and of reason, swaying them and holding
them, making them think and making them
be sorry. 1 he play ceased to be a play and
became sermon, oration. hymn, a kind of
twentieth century “Song of the Shirt,’ ’—but
sounding a bigger note, and asking questions
that EnLTland and the world must answer
some (13 .

One went .1V' ay with a woman’s sanswer to
the old ques 'on as to what might be the vot-
ing woman ’s——the citizen woman ’s—oblig. -
tion to bear arms in time of war ringing in
one’ s cm :

“\Vomen give life: men take it. No one
VVill pretend that ours isn’t a dangerous pro—


LONDON, .\ ay 15, 1907.