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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review 1912

Women's Debating Society

Women's Debating Society.

"This said, he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt; but all sat mute,
Pondering the dnager with deep thoughts; and each
In others' countenance read his deep dismay."

"Paradise Lost."

We rather imagine that Milton was here describing the Debating Society of Orcus; but we are fain to believe that in prophetic flight the sage foresaw our meek endeavours of 1912.

Three meetings of the Society have been held, two of which tcok the form of debates, the third that of a story-telling evening. The last-named was held on Monday, August 5th, when stories of varying degrees of interest were told by Misses Hurst-house, Tennant, North, Houghton, and Tolley.

A debate was held on Friday, August 23rd, when Miss Palmer, seconded by Miss Hursthouse, moved: "That European influence on Maoris is inimical to the welfare of the race." Miss Ross, seconded by Miss Nicholls, opposed the motion. On the whole, the subject of debate proved most interesting.

At the other debate, held on Friday, September 6th, Miss Nicholls, seconded by Miss Thornton, moved: "That adversity is necessary for the development of the highest type of charac page 66 ter." Miss North, seconded by Miss Tolley opposed the motion; and an animated, if somewhat limited, discussion ensued. Indeed, one member became sufficiently violent to rise to a poinloforder, a rare occurrence in the Women's Debating Society.

We have to thank Messrs. McEldowney, Watson, and Skinner for acting as judges at these meetings.

The attendance at these debates was not a thing to be i joiced over. At a social evening, however, held on Thursday, August 15th, much enthusiasm was evinced in point of numbers. On this occasion Dr. Agnes Bennett spoke to us on matters of general interest to women. We have to thank Dr. Bennett very sincerely for an addres not only most interesting, but one which provided much food for thought. Thereafter we wended our way to the gymnasium, and supped in haste, awing to stringent gymnasium rules, which the music, recitations, and talk forthcoming made us loth to obey.

The only other thing we have to remark on is the acquisition of several books on debating, which we have obtained through the generosity of the main society.

Women's Oratorical Contest.

Of one good effect, at least, of the Women's Oratorical Contest we may be sure: It makes the average attendance of the Debating Society's meetings go up at a bound. The large audience which gathered on the 24th August to hear the contest gave particular point to the Secretary's pathetic "nine." [We quote from the minutes of the former meeting, read on that occasion.] The audience was not only large, but also appreciative. There were only live competitors this year, as opposed to eight of last year; but a sixth, Miss Small, was unfortunately unable to be present. The speakers were Miss Jenkins, who spoke on Helen Keller; Miss North on Philippa of Hainaut; Mrs Hickey on Hypatia; Miss Casey on Elizabeth Fry; and Miss Tolley on Mme, de Stöel.

The speeches were, on the whole, good, and very various in style, ranging from emphatic denunciation to simple and rather monotonous statement of fact. We counted no tears among the audience, in spite of the sufferings, even martyrdom of the heroines; nevertheless, the speeches were listened to sympathetically throughout.

By vote of the audience, the speakers were placed as follows:—1, Miss North, whose address was uniformly good, clear page 67 of enunciation, and musical of phrase; 2, Mrs. Hickey; 3, Miss Casey.

While the votes were being counted the men provided an amusing interlude with impromptu speeches on various incongruous subjects, including cats and Mr. Lloyd George.

We are glad to see that the contest is going to be an annual one, as was hoped last year. Its success on both occasions is a good augury for the future.