in the afternoon. The party must arrive in plenty of time as there was
apt to be a crowd in the visitors' gallery for the occasion. The talk
at table was political. There are always points of discussion between
the Nationalist and the United parties that are good for conversation.
Finally Mrs. Oppen-heimer interrupted with the news that it was time to go. As she drove
the short distance to the House of Assembly she explained further to
the newly arrived Englishman that the first answer to the budget was
being made at that very moment, probably, by Mr. Waterson, the Member
for Constantia. He was to move various changes in the Minister of
Finance's program, on behalf of the United party. Of course the
changes wouldn't stand a chance of being voted in, but it was a
necessary gesture for the Opposition to make: it was part of the game.
Oppenheimer was to follow up by seconding the motion, and would take
off from there.
solid, handsome building, fronting a tree-bordered street, looked
unusually animated, with a crowd moving slowly in at the entrance.
There were many women dressed to the nines in pretty summery costumes:
white hats, white shoes, linen or silk dresses; they all went indoors
and climbed the stairs to the gallery. Mrs. Oppenheimer settled her
party into one of the small compartments like shallow theatrical boxes
that were built directly over the Nationalist side of the House, so
that they looked down at the United party members across the way.
Before departing to the special gallery reserved for family
connections, she gave the Englishman one last explanation of an
unusual and fascinating feature of South African parliamentary custom:
the proceedings are bilingual. As a matter of policy, Nationalist
Members make their speeches in Afrikaans.