THE Masons of Philadelphia are about I the only family I ever heard of that won a lottery prize and didn't end up— after the usual orgies by drooling: "Money doesn't bring happiness," and becoming nostalgic over the povertystricken past.
The IVIasons are a Negro family. They were living on Public Assistance-11 dollars 40 cents a week—when father won his lottery prize of 150,000 dollars. Life up to prize day had been the raking of dustbins and the making do with odd jobs. The only heat in the family flat had come from a kitchen stove. Rain leaked through the roof.
Naturally, the Masons were not anxious to stay on at their tenement after they won the 160,000 dollars, but they did not forget the place.
When they had paid their debts, returned the whole amount that had been given them by the County Relief Board, set aside 57,588 dollars for the government tax which falls due in March, and bought themselves a house and car, they decided to do something for other families who had lived in the way they had lived.
They bought a dilapidated tenement, then put up 40,000 dollars to employ Negro labour on the changing of the tenement into a fine modern block of flats to house 100 Negro families. These flats have (or rather will have, for they are not yet completed), air-conditioned rooms, playgrounds, a gymnasium, a bowling alley and a chapel. Rents naturally will be very low.
The Commonweal of New York, in comment on the Masons' spending, says: "One wonders how many white families would have acted as wisely or as well."
" STAIN'S Blitzkrieg looks like becoming a five year plan." So does Buffalo, in its journal Union and Echo, sum up one European situation.
IT was as well, perhaps, for our peace I of mind that there was no Third Sunday after Epiphany this year. The Lesson reads : " But if thy enemy be hungry give him to eat; if he thirst give him to drink."
THE latest issue of the Young Christian Workers' magazine has appeared in photogravure. It was a brave venture to attempt anything so ambitious in such uncertain times as the present, when a good proportion of the Y.C.W. manpower is being sent to the trenches. The venture has been triumphantly successful, to judge from the magazine before me.
A great deal of imagination has gone into the arrangement of the articles, which are first rate, and the pictures, which are vivid and plentiful.
You can perhaps best judge the straightforward, robust quality of the magazine (and the Y.C.W. generally) from this, an extract from an article on the life of a young coal-miner of twentyone : "Rising in the morning at 5.30 a.m., he prepares himself for the work before him, often eating only a small breakfast of tea and bread. Stuffing into his tommytin his food for the day he rushes off to the bus that takes him to the pithead. . . Arriving at the pithead for
6.50 he has a last puff at. his cigarette before going for the lamp which will guide him in the pitch-black darkness underground. . . .
" Wearing only undershirt, underpants and clogs, he begins work. This consists of pushing loaded tubs of coal away from the pans. These tubs have to be pushed in places where the ground level is 1 in 6. It is necessary that these tubs should be pushed to a certain place in regular order so that they can be linked together to form part, of a chain system. If there is any lapse on the part of the young worker, disorganisation results and production stops, much to the disgust of the ganger who expresses his sentiments luridly. This work continues all the morning until one gets accustomed to it and apathetic. At 10.20 there is a break of twenty-five minutes, This is the time for the tornmytin to be produced and the meal eaten sitting down among the coaldust, enlivened by the occasional throwing of scraps to mice visible in the ray of the men's lamps."
The magazine can be got from the Y.C.W., 161, Vauxhall Bridge Road, S.W.1. The price is twopence.
THE Nobel Peace Prizes for 1938 and 1939 have not yet been awarded; it being, presumably, a business too full of embarrassment, However, the prizes amount to 280,000 Swedish kroner, about £16,500. The famous Swedish explorer, Dr. Sven Hedin, suggests that this amount be given to the Finnish Ambulance Corps as "no present bead of government deserves it."
WERE it not for this voice, speaking so clearly in my conscience and lily heart, I should be an atheist or a pantheist, or a polytheist when I looked Into the world. I am speaking for myself only; and I am far from denying the real force of the arguments in proof of a God, drawn from the general facts of human society, but these do not warm me or enlighten me; they do not take away the winter of my desolation, or make the buds unfold or the leaves grow within me, and my normal being rejoice. The sight of the world is nothing .else than the prophet's scroll, full of "lamentations, and mourning, and woe."
To consider the world in its length and breadth, its various history, the many races of man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual alienation, their conflicts; and then their ways, habits, governments, forms of worship; their enterprises, their aimless courses, their random achievements and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long-standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers of truth, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruption*, the dreary, hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race, so fearfully yet exactly described in the Apostle's words, "having no hope and without God in the world" —all this is a vision to dizzy and appal; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of profound. mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution.