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Swift Shots of Wit and
Quick Retorts Which
Audiences and Confused ^
the Slow-Moving Minds of
Those Who Tried to
LADT **NANCT~ ASTOR, an American woman, with her quick
wit, convincing retorti, ready repartee and pleating per
sonality, Jolly well did something that no English woman
ever did?aha got herself elected to the Brltlah Hoote of
Lady As tor is now. as everybody knows, a member of the
British Parliament, elected recently to succeed her husband,
viscount Waldorf Astor. Progressive American women are
pointing with pride to her, for she is the first American woman
to enter the political field abroad. And, of coarse, everybody in
Virginia is tickled, for they still have fond recolloctlona of her
ss Nancy, one of the famons beautiful Langhorae sisters.
While soliciting the suffrage of her fellow citizens of Ply
month she stood before her audiencea like a trained campaigner,
asserting her views and policies and then deftly and convincingly
answering all torts of questions from all sorts of hecklers.
Men who railed at the venturesome woman, and women who
viewed her with jealous scorn, took delight In hurling questions
and remarks, many of them nnfalr, at her, but sha turned the
other cheek always and then smote back In a way thai always
quieted, and usually satisfied, her tormentors. Charwomen and
fishmongers snapped at her on account of her
wealth, but her answers never failed to appease
them. She always had an answer for any heckler
which left him or bar no foothold tor further
She got so many laughs oat of h?r campaign
that hardened politicians stared In anvsxement.
It waa all new to thorn. They had bean accus
tomed to seeing seasoned campaigners put to root
by the hecklers In the audience, but here waa a
refined, dignified little woman, unueed to the en
vironment In which she had placed herself and
with no experience In electioneering, quickly and
easily turning away the barbed shafts directed at
her. All during her campaign English audiences
got a good idea of what American wit it
One of the first speeches that the made was
at a large engineering works, and when she ar
rived there she found that Mr. Isaac Foot, her
adversary, was in the midst of a speech there.
"I know that Lady Astor is a great favorite with
the children of Plymouth, but I have one advant
age over her so far a* they are concerned.'* he
"You mean yoa have one more?" asked Lady
Astor, unable to reeist the temptation of a passage
at arms with him on this point.
Mr. Foot, the father of seven, bowed cour
teously to Lady Astor. the mother of six.
The audience looked at Lady Astor with a
Mr*. Nancy Langhorne Astor
and Some Snap-Shot Photo
graphs During Her Energetic
Campaign Which Won Her a Seat
British House of Commons.
"thumbs down" expression, but she had only allowed Mr. Foot
to put hi? foot In it. "Yes," was her ready retort, "but I hate
not finished yet.**
Lady As tor finally took the rostrum, but before Ions became
annoyed by a persistent Labor heckler.
"I am getting fed up with these paid agitators," she ex
claimed, "come up to the front and let the crowd see what a real
Labor man looks like."
When a young man with a velour hat, smart overcoat, silk
tie. white scarf and gloves and a silver-mounted walking stick
stepped up forward, she said:
"Just what I thought! Better dressed than any of the people
voting tor Lady Astor," and that settled that young man.
A little later a woman pushed her way through ?he crowd
and. planting herself in front of Lady Astor, declared: "No vote
of mine will go to you. At the first meeting you ever addressed
in Plymouth, when 1 called out 'Three cheers for Lloyd George'
you dared to call me a virago."
"Perhaps you are." quietly answered Lady Astor.
"You are no lady; you do not behave as one," retorted the
"That is right," said Lady Astor, "I am just an ordinary
working woman, but you cannot persuade the women of Plymouth
that 1 am rude, for they know 1 have had insults hurled at me.
I have not been rude to anyone. I apologize for calling you a
The irate woman declined to accept the apology.
"You will not forgive me?" queried Lady Astor. "Wait until
you want to be forgiven for your sins," and again Lady Astor had
the last word.
"Is not your place in America. Madam V demanded a smart
young woman in sport coat and cape. -
"Do not think for one moment that 1 am not proud of my
Virginian blood." rang out Lady Astor's voice. "1 married over
here in England. What is it you want me to do?stay at home
and do nothing except be a Viscountess?"
A man In the audience besan to use abusive language to
her. Promptly Lady Astor said: "I want every woman in this
audience to see that this man does not Tote (or me. I dq not
want the vote of a man who curses a woman when he is sober."
There were several distinctly lively duels between the woman
candidate and some of the women. When the interruptions began
to come thick and fast on top of one another Lady Astor said:
"Be quiet, ladles; you are really getting as bad as the men."
In another speech before a large audience she was getting
so many laughs from her hearers that she suddenly switched her
tactica and assured them: "But when I reach Parliament I shall
behave with dignity." But her sober moment soon passed and
she said smilingly: "And I promise not to pull the leg of the
House of Commons any oftener than I can help."
At that the women laughed until they had to hold their sides.
Lady Astor observed them and then protested, with a pout:
"But you know, it will be awfully difficult for a woman with my
sense of humor to sit there and be quiet."
The laugh was always with and not against her. "You can
begin to insult me In a moment," she said to one interrupter. "I
will take It all. I am getting Immune to it." A woman shouted:
"Would you live on two pounds a week?" Lady Astor replied:
"No, but would you?"
"Are there no social reforms in America you could give
your time to?" asked another. Quickly and sharply came the
reply, "I consider that the likes of you ought to be only too
glad to have got an American woman who will fight for what
As a campaigner she showed herself a master of the various
well known wiles and arts and diplomatic resourcefulness for
getting votes. At one time she flattered her chief opponent, Mr.
Foot, before a large audience of people when she happened to
meet him. She went up to him with a smile, which is said to
be the best agent a candidate ever possessed, offered her hand
and said to him: "You know, Mr. Foot, I wish I Were not
fighting against you, becrfhse 1 do really like you." This re
mark proved that while Lady Astor was born an American she
was not brought up in American politics.
Before an audience of men one day she said, tactfully,
?'I think It Is rather hard for men to have to vote for a woman,
? (C) 1919, International Feature Service, Inc.
and I appreciate how
difficult it is."
At times she resorted
to feminine sinuosity.
Picking out a man in the
audience, she addressed
her remarks to him. "Can
you trust a woman? I'll
bet a woman has had
more Influence with you
than any man has had."
"The^ say also that I am
one of the idle rich, but
111 bet that I have done
more work in the last live years than the Labor orators,"
and all the audience, remembering her unfaltering work
In the hospitals during the war, applauded her to the
Again attacking the Independent Uibor party, she
said: "These Labor party orators are no more working*
men than I am a charwoman. If you vote for me you
vote for one of the most independent people ever sent
to the House of Commons. I don't expect to turn it
into a House of Angels. It's all men there now, and
looking into you men's faces I don't see angels." \
"I would love to see the policy adopted of taxing war
profits to pay for the war, and if it is feasible and pos
sible I hope that the Government will do it. My view
of the war profiteer is that I would like to save his soul,
but not his fortune."
She looked in at the sergeants' mess in the Citadel
barracks. "While I am here," she said, "I do want to_l
ask you to take a little more care of the drummer boys'
teeth. Why don't you see that they use their tooth
brushes on their teeth instead of on their buttons?"
At one big evening rally there were the usual re
marks about American millions. "I'll guarantee if those
wild-eyed Bolshevist men had as much as I had," was
Great Britain Eight* Eescrred
they're ahnn tildai ika?, nad wet Matei km te tbi uw,
A lor PitUmmL"
At another time. upon laoileg a rally. ahe bananas tniuW
la merry raillery with Mr. IM, who W'H'~1 to awt bar
outeide the hall aad who eecorted her gallaatly to her carriage.
1 cannot oak 70a lato the carriage, Mr.ftFoot" eaid Lady
Aator, amillagly. "heennae yoa aright spotl my election proa
Then she laraed to the crowd that had gathered around the
^carriage and added roguishly. "Ladlea and gentlemen. th? Lib
f oral candidate Is cohc to aak* a epasch 00 the neoeeelty of
having women la PuihMaL Now. Mr. Foot!"
Mora than on tie Lady Astor talked along theee ltnee: "It U
not as the wife of u M. P- aor aa a sex candidate, nor as a
warming-tan. hat as a cltiaen. hoaerad buyend measure by aa in
vitation to Mjr?>aj this towa. that J ocae before yon 1 know
that I shall hare to Ight agalaot prajadloo Man? of aty own
friends are saying, Nancy should etay at home and look after
' her children.' Weft, ao children la the world are bettor looked
after than mine, aad the women who talked like that are the
One day she paid aa anaspicts < vMt to the eervennta' mees
at the amrtae barracks, aad aoeepted aa Invitation to enter.
The aseemhied sergeaata politely pat daws their pints of beer
to give a coerteoas heartag to the Arat oaadldaU for Parliament
who had ever Invaded their gaartors. u the course of her
remarks to the marlaee she said: 1 do not believe that yen want
theee Longhaired, wild-eyed msa who yen aboat the rights of
worluaea sad hare never daaa a day's work la their lives to hsve
their way." The martaas emlled back, aad ?mi| to be Im
mensely tickled "by the novelty of the attention. A provoat
sergeant asked what Lady Aator had 4oae for the aavy. Lady
Aster looked a trlle debtees.
"1 do not know that I oaght to tofl wtthent the raporten
here." aha replied, "bat I win toll yoa by yoarself." the thee
led the sergeant lato a corner nad en tared into a whispered
conversation. "Oood-by, beys; I know yoa want to get beck to
your beer and smoking." aha aald after ratanting the sergeant to
his comradee. She added: "tJaleaa, of coarse, yoa would Ilka
me to give a temperance lactam."
A red ha trad sergeant sained the opportunity nad the woman
candidate did not evade the nhatlaags. "I do not beUeva la
forced anything." aald Lady Aator. "1 do not believe that forced
prohibition would make eober people, but I do believe that In the
time to come the country erfll be naked to chooee between three,
things?just Veering things aa they are, local option and total
prohibition. Now |a that aqaaiaf
? sergeant said: "But yoa are suppoaed to be a pussyfoot*
(Pussyfoot is d term for prohibitionist la Baglaad )
"Yes. aad 1 am aappooed to be an Idle rich woman and lot*
of other things," retorted Lady Astor. "Plymouth, however,
knows better than that."
In a speech which she made before a select audience of tb?
upper ciasees Lady Astor waxed epigrammatic. For instance:
"I am not a man of words; 1 am a woman of action."
"Our gallant dead did not lay down their lives for a higher
"You cannot take your politics into .religion, but you can
take your religion into politics." .
"I cannot imagine a more terrible prospect than the House
of Commons composed of women, but 1 believe In co-operation.
You have to have both men and women to make a thing perfect."
"1 am longing for Socialism, but 1 want the Socialism of
Christ, not the Socialism of the Independent Labor Party."
"It has been said electricity was always there, but it took
Edison to discover it It is the same with the hearts of men and
women. The good is always there if only we bring ti out"
Earnest, Vigorous, Quick Witttd, but N?r?r
CroM or Impatient in Her Campaigning.