For me, the most striking scene in Downton Abbey on Sunday was the one with the “feather girls” – women who, during the First World War, would approach any man who hadn’t joined up and present him with a white feather, symbolising cowardice. Lady Edith Crawley (played by Laura Carmichael) sided with the feather girls: “When heroes are giving their lives every day, it’s hard to watch healthy young men doing nothing.”
(Michael Deacon. White Feather women didn’t impress those at the Front. The Daily Telegraph. September 19, 2011.)
Sir: I would like to commend TIME, Oct. 27 for printing the cartoons depicting Vice President Nixon's tactics and blunders. They were so very true. MARSHA MASON St. Louis
Sir: Nixon has never shown a white feather concerning Communism. The smearing cartoons by the Washington Post's Herblock and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Mauldin must have caused their editors to give them a "shower" of red stars. It would be appropriate if these cartoonists signed their names in red ink.
(Time. November 17, 1958.)
Hollywood craftsmen spliced around them a silly but exciting story about an Englishman whose best friends hand him white feathers when they find out he is scared of going to war against the blacks. When his sweetheart hands him the fourth white feather, he starts a series of heroic deeds which result in preserving his three friends in turn and possibly also the British Empire.
(Time. June 24, 1929.)