By a C.H. Reporter
" He was once described, and not without justification, as Europe's Best Dressed Correspondent," said Mr. Ronald Reynolds, of his brother, Mr. Rothay Reynolds, whose death was announced from Jerusalem on Tuesday last, August 20. " But," he continued, " what journalist friends could not so easily seize upon, and what did not appear obviously in his work, though it informed it, was his intense and active Catholicism."
was 'phoning him at his Cambridge home for some details in the life of this ex-parson, ex-intelligence officer correspondent, man of the world of affairs whose Catholicism enabled him to appraise more accurately than his employers wanted, Europe's evils.
RECEIVED INTO THE CHURCH His brother, Mr. Reynolds told me, had been educated by private tutors and at Pembroke. and was ordained an Anglican clergyman at Durham in 1897. Ile held curacics at two churches prominent in High Anglican controversy at the time — St. Hilda's, Darlington, and St. Alban's, Nottingham. From this last he accepted an assistant chaplaincy at the English church in St. Petersburgh.
His experience in this city of Orthodoxy against his own High Anglicanism caused him to seek instruction and he was received into the Church by the saintly Jesuit priest, Fr. Daniel Considine. He returned to Si. Petershrtrgh as correspondent for the Daily News.
During the last war he served in the Intelligence Department, where he met and made a life-long friend of Ronald Knox, shortly himself to be received into the Church, now Mgr. Knox.
After the war he went, in 1921, to Berlin.
where he stayed until 1939 as the correspondent of the Daily Mail.
" All the Daily Mail readers missed of his acute and penetrating appraisal of the Nazi regime he put into his book When Freedom Shrieks," said Mr. Reynolds. " His work was especially difficult in view of the difference in philosophy and outlook of the paper for which he worked and his very Catholic view of events taking place.
1N AEROPLANE ELECTION TOUR WITH HITLER " He knew all the Nazi leaders personally, and from the very beginning seemed to sense the evil in them which at the time not everyone allowed. He referred to them all as gangsters, and was never impressed by Hitler's social and economic experiments to the extent of losing sight of his underlying evil philosophy."
" Did he meet Hitler personally?" I asked.
" Yes, he knew him well—and in the early days accompanied him on an aeroplane electioneering tour of Germany.
"It was in Berlin, too, that he met the present Pope." continued Mr. Reynolds, " who was then Papal Nuncio in that city. He was full of praise and admiration for Mgr. and Cardinal Pacelli long before he became Pope.
" After his election as Pope Pius XII," said Mr. Reynolds, " my brother was always impressing upon me how right this was for the Church, and how valuable a Pope he would prove."
I asked Mr Reynolds about his brother's linguistic gifts, saying he was credited with five European languages.
" He certainly had fluent Russian, German and French, hut for the rest I am not so sure. hut he read and spoke Italian and for the whole eighteen years he was at Berlin was a subscriber and reader of the Osserratore R017,0110, which he always declared had all the best news."
I asked Mr. Reynolds if his brother had any of the hobbies or interests so beloved of journalists. and he replied: "No, he didn't collect anything, be had no expensive tastes. didn't even play golf, which all good diplomatic correspondents arc supposed to do. hut he was extremely careful and precise in his clothes, He was also something of a connoisseur in food and drink—a good Catholic trait.
GENIUS FOR MAKING FRIENDS
" No. he had no hobby except that of making friends, and in this he had a genius. He had friends who would risk their lives for him in every walk of life all over Europe.
" One of his greatest enthusiasms was Poland, whose people he admired, whose culture delighted him, and whose present fate he clearly foresaw."
Mr. Reynolds told me that his brother was in Rome when Hely declared war, acting as special correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. From there he went to the Balkans for the same paper, and was in Palestine on that assignment when he contracted pneumonia of which he died.
His book When Freedom Shrieks, which was brilliantly reviewed, is among the best known of his books, which include My Russian Year, The Story of Warsaw, and The Gondola.