Table 5 boasts a wealth of experience in the seeking of publicity: suffragist and journalist Eleanor Glidewell (44 the day before the dinner), who throughout 1913 was rushing around the country promoting the cause, drawing up posters, thanking people for heckling Keir Hardie and enjoying the idea of sausages being thrown at him, and in 1926 the Advertising Manager for T&T; Marion Jean Lyon, 47, holding one of the most important advertising jobs in Fleet Street (at Punch) and now also on the Board of T&T; and accompanied by her husband’s India-born daughter-in-law, Marguerite Marie Antoinette Raven-Hill, or Mrs Lucian Raven-Hill, 31; and Laura Wallis Mills, also 31 (as of just a week earlier), West End actress, now developing a career in advertising, and daughter of one of the great cartoonists of the day, Arthur Wallis Mills – Laura’s mother was born in India so she may have had tales of the Raj to share with Marguerite. Furthermore, we now know that by 1939 Laura was working in the advertising department of Punch.
The party of six is then completed by Herbert Warner-Allen, 52 (birthday a fortnight earlier, Pisces like Laura, and the only man at the table), journalist and writer, with a fine reputation on wine and ranging out into detective stories and mystical writing, and by his wife Ethel, Mrs Warner-Allen, 52, an engaging raconteur, whose faithful dog would wait up for her to return from the theatre. Confusingly Marion, now married to Leonard Raven-Hill, would also be addressed at Mrs L. Raven-Hill but I have assumed she hasn’t got two seats at the table and that it is indeed a table of six.
We might speculate that Marion Lyon, with Punch but on the board of T&T, may have assembled this group, inviting her husband’s daughter-in-law, along with a suffragist campaigner and former T&T publicist, an actress whose father was a freelance cartoonist who often contributed to Punch (and Marion’s husband was the leading Punch cartoonist too, of course), and a writer and his wife. This table does not lack the ability to make a noise and it may have been hard top get a word in.
After a few belated birthday congratulations which might have been scattered around the table (if the dates were known) and in private, discrete condolences to Marguerite whose 8 year old daughter had died 5 months earlier, the conversation will surely have ranged widely: from tales of India, tales of Keir Hardie and flying sausages, Eleanor’s views on women drivers, Laura’s developing career in advertising, expert opinions as to the quality of the wine at the table (though Warner-Allen had yet to publish his first wine volume), and the tale of the dog that didn’t go to bed at night. Ethel Warner-Allen may have recalled the time when she first switched on an electric light, if the conversation waned.