Ostle's Letters to Virginia Woolf
M.G. Ostle's letters to Virginia Woolf are preserved in the Monks House Papers and reproduced with permission from the University of Sussex Special Collections. Every reasonable effort has been made to locate a copyright holder for M.G. Ostle. Any information regarding copyright holders should be sent to the editors.
THE FROEBEL SOCIETY
AND JUNIOR SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION
SCHOLASTIC AGENCY FOR TEACHERS
Library 11 to 6 (Saturdays 11 to 2). LONDON, W.C.1.
Telephone: HOLBORN 7544.
Secretary and Librarian---
Miss M.G. OSTLE 28
N.F.U. Teacher's Cert. and Trainer's Diploma. 10
From the sole of my shoes, let me thank you for "A Room of One's Own."
I read it in a Nursing Home & did not even remember the time to go to the
theatre. The truth of the book lives & someday, let us hope, will be known.
But only you have ever expressed it so convincingly.
But there is no need to read it!
In October 1929 I wrote to you from the Froebel Society to thank you for
your book A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN I was then Registrar and Secretary
of this woman's educational society.Now I am alone and reading for
pleasure as well as help in my work as I had to do then.
And a reviewer has lent me your book THREE GUINEAS. I have been
enthralled by it. A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN is on my 'best' book shelf. I
shall now put THREE GUINEAS next to it.
If only the unconverted would read and could understand all you
express so delicately and yet with such force. I shall not see it in my life
time...I am 57..... but I think your two books will be the best help women
have ever had towards their fight for justice.
At the time of my work at the Froebel Society I had to come by train every
day from Eltham Park to Charing Cross. For a long time I had, of course,
the usual third class season. A generous Chairman gave me a first class
season. How well I remember taking my seat in comfort on Monday 2nd
January; and how well I remember the glares I got from all the men in the
carriage. Being blissfully ignorant that they were angry, I went on my way.
Before the first week was up one of the men beckoned to a ticket inspector
at Blackheath and indicated my un-wanted society. This inspector not only
inspected my ticket but asked for the date and then slammed the door
without even making a show of looking at the men's. Later I found two
other women who trav[e]lled in comfort. One was married and the other a
buyer for a huge dress firm. They both agreed that they had had the same
experience. The married woman said that men did not mind so much about
her for she had a ring on the proper finger but the other owned that men
hated the fact that she was able to buy her self the usual comforts that
'belonged' to men. I have no quarrel with men, they have often been kinder
to me than my women relatives. But the fact still remains that we must do
the hard work without the comforts unless the men can provide them. If you
earn enough to have an occasional cocktail or a first class season...they hate it.
Is it because it means that marriage does not now mean of necessity
more comforts for the married woman?
I asked a season ticket holder the other day if the same thing happened.
She said there was no doubt about it.
So once more let me offer you my sincere thanks for your work for us.
It[']s a grand book and I am buying it as soon as it is out.
No one has expressed our difficulties in making a living better than you.
Why men should mind...except for the marriage problem....I cannot think.
And some women are just as queer. My married sister thinks it awful if I
produce a bottle of sherry in my one-room flat and calls me extravagant
because I know what food to get and how to furnish my room. Yet she will
talk of my brother....income £3,000...as 'quite poor'
Oh for some more women with your brain.
M Geraldine Ostle
express some of the difficulties women labour under. Your first book started it.