September 26 1926.
Fear and happiness are somersaulting through my heart like Chinese acrobats. I’ve found a room in London and have paid a month’s rent with the money I stole from my father.
Of all the cruel memories I’ll hold of home the one that will sting the most is of my mother calling me a strumpet with venomous contempt in her narrowed eyes. I’m gone forever from that hideous place and will never never return. Why would I?
A Strumpet indeed. Well who am I to contradict my mother? I ‘ll be the greatest strumpet England has ever seen. Rich men will fall at my feet and shower me with gifts. And I ‘ll be beholden to none of them. I won’t be like my mother. I won’t be beaten and crushed into the floor. I will not be a good little woman. Men pay for sex. Men will pay me more for sex than my father gave my mother in 20 years of marriage. So who’s the good girl?
The room I’ve found is below street level and has no proper window. Just murky light coming from the thick glass bricks in the ceiling that form part of the footpath above. Busy London feet clip clop overhead . People here walk so fast. Like their tails are on fire. I feel an urge to rush upstairs an shout ‘Stop walking so fast!’
But this is my very own room. Dirty old linoleum. Nasty old bed. Rusty old metal dresser. At least it’s not my father’s house. I’ve paid for it with my own money. The money came from him, but since I stole it, it’s mine. That is, after all, what stealing means.
On Monday I’ll go out and get some sort of easy job in a shop. Mrs Pankhurst was the only landlady that didn’t give me a lecture on who I could bring back to my room. But she will expect me to have a nice girl’s job. I learned back in Bristol that a cheeky blond like me can make more in one night than in a whole week of standing around in some hat shop being abused and looked down on by bosomy matrons.
I’m terribly realistic. I won’t be meeting the bright young people of London immediately. Until then I will have to endure what ever it takes. In that time I will feather my nest and learn to fend for myself.
This is a very sad little room. But one day I’ll have the most sumptuous boudoir in all of Europe.