The occasion was the fourth annual dinner of the U. S. branch of the International Law Association, held in Manhattan.
Before a vast expanse of taut white shirts, Dr. A. de Graeff, Dutch Minister to the U. S., rose from his seat. Said he: "In Washington society I am frequently greeted, chiefly by ladies, as follows: 'And how is dear little Holland?' While I appreciate the sympathy, I take exception to the diminutive, and most strongly object to the 'dear.' At least as far as international law is concerned, I think that my country deserves a better name than 'dear little Holland*.'"
Another of the speakers had occasion to refer to the Netherlands. She was Mrs. Helena Normanton (Mrs. Gavin Clark), first married woman to be admitted to the English Bar under her own name, a woman who, in addition to prefixing "Mrs." to her maiden name, is "plump and very pretty, with a genuine blond complexion that would make even a show girl respect nature." Said she to her fellow diners:
"America, England and Holland are the great custodian nations, guarding the liberties of the world.* And how few are the nations guarding liberty, and how many are doubting liberty and democracy today. We in England look to you and to Holland and believe that we three should hold together."
* The area of the Netherlands is 12,761 square miles (about three times the size of Connecticut), its population 7,029,881. The Dutch Empire in the East Indies is 832,473 square miles (one-third the size of the U. S.) in extent and has a population of 49,314,038.
* Mrs. Normanton undoubtedly referred to the Hague Tribunal and the Permanent Court of International Justice.