Mrs Asquith

Speculating the other day about the possible significance of the mention of Margot Asquith’s memoirs in Mrs Dalloway, I decided that it was because she too was a political hostess, of a contrasting sort.

Today I’m reading William Gerhardie’s God’s Fifth Column, a posthumously published and very individual history of the first half of the twentieth century. He says :

Margot Tennant, even apart from her representative, warmly feminine outlook on the world of her time, is herself a valuable cross-section of British society.

and sums up her memoirs thus:

In her told story you have the untold story of British social life; of aspirations which are never mooted; of the bluntest of social ambitions never acknowledged even to oneself; of the steady pushfulness of crude fathers, keen blades of commerce indiscriminately on the make, producing in the course of a single generation gracious peeresses taking refuge, from the vulgar curiosity of social climbers eager for a recipe of such spectacular success, in the coy protective shyness of conscious distinction.

A counter-type to Mrs D. in several ways, clearly.


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