Nellie McClung: Voice for the Voiceless (Quest Biography)
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Margaret Macpherson holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and has worked as a teacher and journalist in Halifax, Bermuda, and Vancouver. She currently lives in Edmonton with her husband and four children.
He’s a patient, placid fellow and I heard Jimmy Sloan is the rider. ” “Oh, look,” cried Nellie, ignoring Hannah and pointing across the field. “There’s Mrs. Dale and her new baby. Oh, can’t we go see the baby, Hannah? Please? The race won’t start for a few minutes and I want to hold the baby. ” Hannah nodded and Nellie was off. Several women were gathered around a carriage. By the time Hannah reached the group, Nellie had the carriage in hand and was wheeling it to the sidelines so she could get a better view of the ox race.
Even Mother would be sorry then,” mused Nellie. “And Jack. He will cry bitterly, ‘Our Nell was too good to live. ’ Oh, I should so like to see him repent. ” But, reasoned Nellie, going back to her book, Letitia always countered colds with mustard plasters and goose oil. “Instead of dying, I’m going to become a famous author,” she told Nap, who thunked his tail in amicable agreement. “I’ll not be a dreary housewife, with babies and washing and food to prepare for menfolk. I’ll have money from my books and I’ll be able to pay servants.
As the League of Nations was meeting in Geneva, she and Mark would travel together to Switzerland to see the Alps and bathe in the lakes. And at the League, Nellie imagined she and her colleagues would hammer out a plan for international peace. She smiled. The sun was warm, the way was bright, and despite her aching joints and the age that had stealthily crept up on her, she could still be useful. The lulling motion of the ship through the water had its desired affect. On August 26, 1938, while the world stood at the threshold of a second great war, Nellie Letitia McClung, full of hope and faith in the future, dozed on the deck of the Empress of Britain in the lingering late summer sun.
Nellie knew that Emily didn’t want to simplify the petition, but the wording of all three questions had been deemed either irrelevant or confusing by the government. “We should make it as plain and simple as possible,” she mused. “The question we want addressed is this: Does the word ‘persons’ in section 24 of the British North American Act, 1867, include female persons? That’s what we want to know. It couldn’t be clearer. ” Emily Murphy could do nothing but concede. The petition that would amend the BNA Act and make way for a female senator was close.
Jack, now taller than Nellie, redistributed his load to take his mother’s arm. “You’ll be back next summer and it will be the same as always. ” He paused and without knowing its import asked the question Nellie had prayed she would not hear. “Mother, when will I be old enough to join the army? ” 8 Sorrow of War, Joy of Action “War is a crime committed by men and, therefore, when enough people say it shall not be, it cannot be. This will not happen until women are allowed to say what they think of war.