And of course the great idea for their master-stroke of strategy came from a masculine source. Lena Dubarri, who was the captain-general of their thinking department, met Waldo Orpington in the Mall one afternoon, just at a time when the fortunes of the Cause were at their lowest ebb. Waldo Orpington is a frivolous little fool who chirrups at drawing-room concerts and can recognise bits from different composers without referring to the programme, but all the same he occasionally has ideas. He didn’t care a twopenny fiddlestring about the Cause, but he rather enjoyed the idea of having his finger in the political pie. Also it is possible, though I should think highly improbable, that he admired Lena Dubarri. Anyhow, when Lena gave a rather gloomy account of the existing state of things in the Suffragette world, Waldo was not merely sympathetic but ready with a practical suggestion. Turning his gaze westward along the Mall, towards the setting sun and Buckingham Palace, he was silent for a moment, and then said significantly, ‘You have expended your energies and enterprise on labours of destruction; why has it never occurred to you to attempt something far more terrific?’

‘ “What do you mean?” she asked him eagerly.

‘ “Create.”

‘ “Do you mean create disturbances? We’ve been doing nothing else for months,” she said.

‘Waldo shook his head, and continued to look westward along the Mall. He’s rather good at acting in an amateur sort of fashion. Lena followed his gaze, and then turned to him with a puzzled look of inquiry.

‘ “Exactly,” said Waldo, in answer to her look.

‘ “But—how can we create” she asked; “it’s been done already.”

‘ “Do it again,” said Waldo, “and again and again—”

‘Before he could finish the sentence she had kissed him. She declared afterwards that he was the first man she had ever kissed, and he declared that she was the first woman who had ever kissed him in the Mall, so they both secured a record of a kind.

‘Within the next day or two a new departure was noticeable in Suffragette tactics. They gave up worrying Ministers and Parliament and took to worrying their own sympathisers and supporters—for funds. The ballot-box was temporarily forgotten in the cult of the collecting-box. The daughters of the horse-leech were not more persistent in their demands, the financiers of the tottering ancien régime were not more desperate in their expedients for raising money than-the Suffragist workers of all sections at this juncture, and in one way and another, by fair means and normal, they really got together a very useful sum. What they were going to do with it no one seemed to know, not even those who were most active in collecting work. The secret on this occasion had been well kept. Certain transactions that leaked out from time to time only added to the mystery of the situation.

‘ “Don’t you long to know what we are going to do with our treasure hoard?” Lena asked the Prime Minister one day when she happened to sit next to him at a whist drive at the Chinese Embassy.

‘ “I was hoping you were going to try a little personal bribery,” he responded banteringly, but some genuine anxiety and curiosity lay behind the lightness of his chaff; “of course I know,” he added, “that you have been buying up building sites in commanding situations in and around the Metropolis. Two or three, I’m told, are on the road to Brighton, and another near Ascot. You don’t mean to fortify them, do you?”

‘ “Something more insidious than that,” she said; “you could prevent us from building forts; you can’t prevent us from erecting an exact replica of the Victoria Memorial on each of those sites. They’re all private property, with no building restrictions attached.”

‘ “Which memorial?” he asked; “not the one in front of Buckingham Palace? Surely not that one?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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