vOLLOWING Mass last Sunday,
which 'happened to he the feast of the Visitation. I was struck again. as I am sure many of my readers were struck, by the beauty of the Epistle from the Canticle of Canticles: " I can hear my beloved calling to me: Rise up, rise up quickly, dear heart. so gentle, so beautiful, rise up and come with me. Winter is over now, the rain has passed by. At home, the flowers have begun to blossom: pruning-time has come; we can hear the turtle-doves cooing already. there at home. There is green fruit on the fig-trees; the vines in flower are all fragrance ..."
Still, I did not quote all this just for its beauty, hut because, as I read, it struck me that we ought to have a Gardening Sunday—and. in view of this lovely vision of the garden, what better Sunday than the nearest to July 2? If we have a reader for readers in different parts of the country) with one of England's beautiful gardens. what about a gardenparty (or garden parties) next year for C.H. readers to inaugurate Gardening Sunday?
"Travellers Tales" STRANGE adventures have been " the lot of some pilgrims. One of them. a lady of the Grail, who hitch-hiked from Paris to Rome, was invited with her companion on to a British cruiser at Venice for a cocktail party. and there received. under a red awning, in her hiking clothes, by an Admiral and half the Venetian
nobility. In Florence, they were invited into the Court and received by the judge and barristers. More homely—and awkward was another traveller's adventure. She only had a few hours in the town. and found
everything closed. Anxious to get some refreshment before seeing what she could of the place. she inquired at a convent recommended to her. The nun was delighted to give her and her friend some bread and coffee, Wondering what would be the right recompense for this kindness. she decided to ask straight out what she owed. Two thousand lire came the answer! Perhaps the nun who asked — it was a different one from the nun who greeted them —thought they had had a full dinner. Anyhow, the pound and more was painfully extracted from the bottom of a by then almost empty pocket.
NUMBER of letters base reached me as a result of the discussion last week about advertise ments. I admire the writer who aays that neither her family nor herself ever does see the Sunday papers
and presumably does not see either illustrated weeklies. At least here is
'consiatency. Another asks about episcopal prohibitions in some Southern countries. But here again, temperament, climate, local needs have to be taken into account. And someone asks for my view on " twopiece " bathing dresses. Who am I 'to give it ! To judge by some newspaper photos, you might as well have no bathing dress at all. On the other hand, one sees on beaches " two-pieces" which are really hardly distinguishable from " one-pieces"; and surely it is true to say that the difference between a decent " twopiece " and a contemporary " onepiece " is far less than the difference between the contemporary " onepiece " and what was considered respectable fifty, or even twenty years ago.
Respectability and Modesty I CAN'T help feeling that there's a clue somewhere in that word "respectable." Are we interested chiefly in " respectability " which is in itself a purely conventional notion about what others think about you, or in the virtue of " modesty" which calls for moderation in itself, not only in bathing dresses, but in one's view of one's attainments and one's general deportment. There was a drawing the other day in a paper of a beach full of bathers in the midst of which was a man fully dressed in a black suit. He explained that he was trying to avoid being conspicuous! Modesty cuts both ways. and surely it is a safe rule anywhere to follow the mean of fashion in that place and situation, avoiding extremes, "The Wind and the Rain" I HEAR that what I take to be our A sole literary review, in lay hands, The Wind and the Rain, is in danger of corning to an end through rising costs and too stable a circulation. In view of everything, it is really a minor miracle that Neville Braybrooke has been able to keep this review going for such a long time— all the sadder, therefore, if the miracle should cease to be. Frankly, for my own part, 1 should like to see it somewhat lighter in approach, though I fully realise that to attempt this sort of thin* seriously, long, erudite and specialist articles are necessary. Alas, when it is difficult to gel even well-educated Catholics in quantity seriously interested in religious and philosophic writing, it must be a long shot to get them interested in pure literary criticism from
a Catholic mind. Still, I feel sure
that Mr. Braybrooke, who wants at least another 200 subscribers, will be glad to introduce the review to bonafide seekers for something " better."
"St. Vincent's Quarterly".
FROM The Wind and the Rain to the latest parish magazine is, no doubt, a long way. But St. Vincent's, Clapham Common, present this June Vol. I, No. I, of St. Vin cent's Quarterly. In the modern manner. the new magazine wanders far away from Clapham Common— even to Rome and the Mid-West—in its survey, hut I still think we need a parish journalistic genius to exploit properly the possibilities of this type of literature. Canon Jackman. closely assisted. I believe, by the author of our own "Professional Prayers," was the last I remember.
On My Sole
MY RADIO query about why some
members of my family can stop the wireless by walking near it, and others cannot, has brought replies which, as I feared, show that the phenomenon throws no light on the family's spiritual powers. As with Shakespeare, it is nothing to do with the soul, but with the sole. At least it is suggested that those who wear rubber soles would have a different effect from those who wear leather ones.
Reaction to the Talkies R EADING through one of the ' essays in Fluxley's Do What You Will. I came across this description of his first visit to the "Talkies." The first impact on a civilised person of what we since have learnt to take for granted is not without its moral " Some sort of comedian was performing as we entered. But he soon vanished to give place to somebody's celebrated jazz-band — not merely audible in all its loud vulgarity of brassy guffaw and caterwauling sentiment, but also visible in a series of apocalyptic close-ups of the individual performers. A beneficent providence has dimmed my powers of sight, so that at a distance of more than four of five yards I am blissfully unaware of the full horror of the average human countenance. At the cinema, however, there is no escape. Magnified up to Brobdingnagian proportions, the human countenance smiles its six-foot smiles, opens and shuts its thirty-two-inch eyes, registers soulfulness or grief, libido or whimsicality, with every square centimetre of its several roods of pallid mooniness . . .. Gigantically enlarged, these personages appeared one after another on the screen, each singing or playing his instrument, and at the same time ,registering the emotions appropriate to the musical circumstances. The spectacle, .1 repeat, was really terrifying. For the first time I felt grateful for the defect of vision which had preserved me from an earlier acquaintance with such aspects of modem life. And at the same time I wished that I could become, for the occasion, a little hard of hearing."
"Mental Illness" Sr:EING a headline in the reputable New York Herald Tribune, " Monogamy is Called Obstacle to Christianity on Gold Coast," I thought it worth my while to get the Colonial Office publication Studies in Mental illness in the Gold Coast, on which the American story was based. Having read it, I can only conclude that the "mental illness " is to he found in this connection, not in the Gold Coast, but in the offices of New York Herald Trigune, where the headline was concocted. Actually the section from which a few quotations are strung together out of their context by the American paper begins: " It would be wrong to assume that the acceptance of Christianity by Africans must inevitably lead to conflict. On the purely ethical side, the religions of the Gold Coast have much in common with what is best in Christianity and no great change of outlook or behaviour is required of the convert."
The Fate of Bishops A LETTER from a close friend of " this column tells me of the great sorrow she once had when a priest of great charm who helped and guided her and her family was moved away and soon was promoted, as my friend's non-Catholic husband prophecied, to one of our English Sees. For some reason this little account reminds me of an old saying in references to higher prelates. Of them it is said that, once consecrated, they will never lack for a good meal and never • again hear the truth! I doubt whether our Bishops always get a good meal, hut I wonder how much of truth there may be in the second part!