funny... for those who like history

jojojo's picture

I am doing some work for school, and I come across this letter (reprinted in an autobiography) which I found fun to read and wanted to share with you: I deleted a few words to conceal the topic she is writing about, but I'll reveal it at the end of the post. It is written by an upper-class woman in England.

"Wednesday, February 24, 1909.
"My angel mother, - I don't know whether I shall post this to you or see you first. I want to have a letter ready.
"Don't be startled or afraid. I have something to tell you which - with the help of recent presentiments - you, I know, are half expecting to hear.
"If you ever see this letter it will mean that (...) For months I have been planning this letter to you, but now that the time has come, it is not any easier to write for that. Of course, my hope has been all along that I should be able to take you into my confidence, that I should have the perhaps all-undeserved yet heaven-like joy of knowing that though you could not share all my (...), yet that you would understand why I held them, and, granted these, you would further understand my action and the great sacrifice which I know it means to you. My darling Muddy, you will never know, I trust, the pain it is to have to do this thing without your sympathy and help - with, on the contrary, the certainty that it shocks you and hurts you and makes you suffer in numberless ways. Hardly a day has passed but what I have tried to feel my way with you, tried to convert you - not to my (...), difference there does not matter, but to my intended conduct in connection with them. Every day I have failed. (...) For your sake I have tried never to tell you an actual lie in words. I have not done this, and that is, perhaps, why you have your suspicions. But to my conscience that is no easier. It was my intention to deceive you, and I have deceived you, and, for all practical purposes, successfully. (...)"

So, what does that make you think of? Coming out or coming out? Coming out caricatured?

Well, this woman - Lady Constance Lytton - is actually not telling her mom she's gay, but that she's joined a militant women's movement and that she's joining a deputation (which is a small demonstration) to parliament, demanding to meet the Prime Minister. (And at that time, that meant she'd be arrested.)
Made me think: Different times, different reasons for which you have to "come out". At her time, it was unheard-of for a woman to be a political activist. Thus, it was something you'd have to come out in such a dramatic way.