Suffragette Diary - Friday July 16th

Diary of an unknown Suffragette held in Holloway Prison. 

I slept well but was aroused by someone ringing the bell. The Doctor was sent for. I did not know who it was. I am getting weaker. I’ve applied for the Chaplain. The wardress said to me this morning,” Get your clothes and we shall want to take your bed out.”  I wonder if they will. Miss Carwin didn’t have hers all yesterday. Part of the process seems to be to degrade us by not allowing us to wash properly. Last night I had only my drinking can of water to wash in. My wash tin leaked violently. I asked the wardress if we were not supposed to wash at night and she said, “In this part of the prison you are only supposed to wash in the morning.”

In the morning we had had about a quart of water and a little scrap of soap which was taken away. This morning I have only had my drinking can of water to wash in again and no soap. May Herbert Gladstone’s downfall be speedy. I asked the Doctor yesterday for my ointment and bandage out of my bag and they brought me my bag and let me take it out. I also took out my toothbrush and face flannel with the wardress’s permission as the Doctor said I could have any bits of linen or things of that sort which I needed for the eczema.

Yesterday he also sent me a box of ointment which I did not keep as I was having my own. Yesterday I read morning and evening prayers, lessons etc. They understand refined torture in Holloway. I do not like the Governor and should not trust him. I wish I could faint or something of that sort. How long I wonder can I live without food and without air. The Chaplain has been and says he can’t get us library books. The Doctor has been also. He seems much amused and tries to persuade us to desist. A nice fat old wardress who I take to be the Matron of the Hospital and who can smile always comes with him which is a comfort. He is going to get me some soap and water and something to sit on as they have removed my mattress and bedding.

I have just had a good wash with about a quart of hot water and soap which was brought. They brought me my mattress, pillow and rug late this afternoon. I am waiting for my sheets and blanket now and then I shall go to bed. I have read nearly all the Book of Job. I saw through the peephole which was accidentally left open, Mrs Holt White Simmons go out of the cell opposite looking ghastly. I wonder if I look likewise 4 days without food.  Miss Carwin has got 10 days close confinement. The Governor and Matron came this afternoon but to no purpose. God help me to hold out. I feel so chokey when I think of the outside world.

 

Reprinted with permission - first published on the wonderful site Suffragette Diary - We encourage everyone to visit, especially to see drawings of her cell.