Breaking The Mould
Ilfracombe, Devon March 1912
They stand in silence waiting for the London Express. Katherine Marie Anstis du Sautoy Newby draws her overcoat closer around her slim frame as the biting sea air sweeps across the platform at Ilfracombe station. Her husband Dr Newby stands beside her, grasping her arm just a little tighter than necessary. How easy it would be to return to their homely villa in Broad Park Avenue. Easy, but not an option, not this time.
Marie checks her portmanteau. Cotton wool, newspaper, small stones, identification, a change of dress, the bare essentials. ‘I’ve left menus with Elizabeth,’ she says, anxious to break the silence between them. ‘You just need to give her your schedule each week. And Elsie will attend to any household matters.’
‘I’ll be perfectly well taken care of. I just wish I could say the same of you.’ He squeezes her hand discreetly.
They said their farewells in the privacy of the drawing room but his touch is reassuring. There’s no turning back, Marie knows that, but she shivers at the prospect of what lies ahead. It’s one thing to read in the newspapers of the appalling brutality towards women, but soon she will be standing shoulder to shoulder with them. No-one knows what will happen then, not even Mrs Pankhurst.