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A Militant

From The Sun, June 14, 1914. By W. J. Lampton.

She was an elder woman and she came
Into my office with no shrink of shame.
But with a manner most aggressively
As though she owned the whole darn place and me.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” I said in my best way,
“What is there I can do for you today?”
She held me with her eagle eye
Nor passed my imperfections by.
“Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said:
‘Women shall vote’?” ’Twas thus she spoke,
And guileless I, considering it a joke,
Responded, “Well, really now, I cannot say
But souls don’t die, Ma’am, down our way.”
Then burned her swarthy cheek like fire
And shook her very frame for ire—
“Strike, if you will, this old gray head,
But share your votes with us,” she said.
Regardless of what might occur,
I braced myself and answered her:
“Indeed, I would most gladly share
My vote with you, O lady fair,
But truly now, it can’t be done,
Because you see I have but one,
And that the law, however snide,
Will not allow me to divide.”
Her brow was sad, her eye, beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath:
“When freedom, from her mountain height,
Unfurls her banner to the air,
She’ll split the azure robe of night
And nail the votes of women there,”
The lady said, and I replied
With this faint query on the side:
“I hate to ask you so, it hurts,
But say, will Freedom wear slashed skirts?”
She answered with a look of rage
Which hid the ashen hue of age:
“Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day
When the women shall meet thee in battle array.”
“But Madam,” I said, “why speak to me thus?
My name isn’t Lochiel. I don’t know the cuss.”
The flash of her dark, threatening eyes,
Forerunning thunder, took my size:
“When Freedom’s name is understood,
You’ll not delight the wise and good;
You dare not set the women free
And give them law’s equality.
Farewell, you horrid wretch; I can
Call you by no worse name than Man.”
She turned to go and went so fast
I could not stay her as she passed;
And yet I would have done so, for
I am a peaceful bachelor
Who hates the very thought of war.
And sure, as far as I’m concerned,
They may have suffrage and be derned.

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