Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser (30/Mar/1907) - The Woes of Martyrdom

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.



Miss Dora Thewles, the seventeen years old suffragette whom Mr. Horace Smith, the magistrate at Westminster, offered to send back to her home at Huddersfield, but who, in her ardour for the cause, refused to thus escape the glory of martyrdom, has been interviewed in Holloway Prison. Miss Thewles wore over her heart a yellow cardboard disc, on which was inscribed E.4.21. She bad lost her beautiful colour, and her black hair and eyes were in striking contrast with the pallor of her cheeks. She appeared delighted at the break caused in the monotony by the visit. "Oh I am glad to see yon," she cried, "I feel so lonely here. I want to go back home. I have had enough of prison. The food is awful, and I have eaten practically nothing since I have been here. And to look at me in these horrid clothes. They are so heavy and they tire me. I am ashamed of myself. My only comfort has been derived from a couple of letters which I have received from home. Look what my mother has written to me."

Dear child, I am very proud of the way you have acted. So keep your spirits up and be cheerful. You ought to have told the magistrate when be said yon were too young, and ought to have been at school, "What about working at Huddersfield at a loom for ten hours at a stretch." You know what you went to London for, and what you are doing. You are a member of the Women's Social and Political Union, who are looking after you, so do your duty to them.

"They are very proud of me at present," said Miss Thewles, "but I do not think they will be after tomorrow for I intend ashing the magistrate if I can go home. I do think it is impertinent of Mr. Horace Smith to say he will pay my fare out of the poor box. My father has money to pay for it if I go back, and I also have a little money of my own. I expect I shall incur the displeasure of my sister suffragettes for not remaining in prison, but I am determined on that point. I shall not stay here, I am too young. Let those older than myself come to prison. I don’t like being taunted with the phrase, 'You are too young ; what do you want with a vote?' I know very well I am too young for a vote, but it is not for myself I am fighting, or at least was — for I never shall come to London again — but for my mother. There was nobody else at home who would, or could, come, so as my mother has been fighting for the cause all her life, they sent me down. But I was surprised at the disgraceful scenes, and when the magistrate asked me if I would go to prison I said 'Yes,' just to do like the rest. But, as I said before, I have regretted it ever since, and I don’t think, even for the sake of a vote — which I think women should have — it is worth while going to prison ; do you? I have been brought up to Socialistic ideas and since I was thirteen years old. I have been one of the main workers at our Huddersfield branch, and shall continue the fight at home, but in a quiet and ladylike manner. But never again shall I come to London unless they let us enter the House of Commons like ladies, with the policemen bowing down to us. I hope they will not be very angry with me when I return home, but I feel very unwell."

Miss Dora Thewles appeared before Mr. Horace Smith at the Westminster Police Court on Wednesday, having expressed a strong wish to return home.

The Magistrate : I understand you are willing to go home ?

Prisoner (eagerly) : Yes, sir.

The Magistrate : Then I will make arrangements for that to be done immediately.

Prisoner appeared to be quite elated at the decision of the Court.

Miss Thewles was then removed from the Court, and Mrs. Despard[1] and Mrs. How Martyn[2] endeavoured to follow her, but were prevented from so doing. After this the two ladies sent the following note to the magistrate:—

Dear sir,
As we are responsible to Mrs. Thewles for her daughter's safety, we should esteem it a favour either to be allowed to see her or to be officially informed of the arrangements that have been made for her return home.

The greatest secrecy was observed in the departure of Miss Thewles from Westminster Court, and no one has been allowed to interview her. Every precaution has also been taken to prevent her being photographed. She will be accompanied home by the lady missionary attached to the court. Dora, who has come to be known as the "baby suffragette," had left her hat at the office of the Women's Social and Political Institute, and a new motor cap was purchased for her on Wednesday morning.

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