“Oh, I’m so sorry, ma’am, I was struck all over dumb to see you. I heard you speaking outside Lord Sherbourne’s last week. You made so much sense, I wanted to stay and hear it all, but I had to get back to work.”
“Why, my dear, how nice of you to say so.” Abigail said, smiling. “And what was it you heard that made so much sense to you?”
Ceridwen blushed, and ducked her head, then looked up and answered eagerly “you were answering a man who said women didn’t have the mental ability to understand running a country. He said the intricacies of the finances alone would be too much or them. And you said ‘any woman who has to run a household, seeing to the health and wellbeing of everyone in it, feed and clothe them, see to their health, pay for the rent and upkeep of the home and keep the financial records, is already more capable of understanding than at least seventy five percent of the male voters.’ That made so much sense to me.
“My Father has the vote, and so does my uncle. Father understands how my Mother takes care of all that, but Uncle can’t even handle his own expenses. He is always coming to Father for loans – and Father sends him to Mother. Last time, she refused. She said he should learn to live within his income and she would waste no more of Father’s and my hard-earned wages on him. I don’t think it is fair for someone like him to vote, when my Mother and I can’t.” Ceridwen watched Mrs. Underhill’s face as she talked, and now waited a response.
“You are absolutely correct, my dear. Many women, working and running a home, bringing up three or four children on their own, know far more about balancing income and outgo than the greater majority of male voters. We will win, mark my words; but it will be a long fight.” She stopped, smiled, and said “however, that is not why I came in, though I am very happy to have met you. Here’s a leaflet about our next meeting, should you wish to attend.” She passed a small folder across the counter.
“I came in to see if Mr. Taylor could repair these watches.” She reached into her bag and brought out a small box. Opening it, she revealed a man’s and a lady’s pocket watches. Both were battered and dented. “We were attacked as we left the Opera on Saturday evening. They were filthy roughians, and very violent, using fists and clubs. I still have bruises that make some movements quite painful. Do you think they can be repaired? They are both heirlooms, and it would break my husband’s heart to lose them.”
“Let me call Mr. Bloor, ma’am. He is one of Mr. Taylor’s best watchmakers. He would know.” Ceridwen moved to a door behind her, opened it, and called softly “Mr. Bloor, could you come out here for a moment, please? There are two damaged pocket watches that need you expert appraisal.”