MR. DOUGLAS JERROLD'S autobiography Georgian Adventure needs more serious treatment than I can give it in this column, for in between the reminiscenees of men and events it contains important information and a political philosophy, possibly the only one that can save this nation and Europe. I confess, however, that it is the sort of book which I dip into to find good stories and pithy sayings. I have not been disappointed. The best 1 have found so far is the story related of Professor Garrod, of Oxford.
When offered a white flag in 1916 by a flapper who said; "Sir, are you aware that in Flanders young men are dying for civilisation?," he replied, with a bow: " Are you aware, Madam, that I am the civilisation for which they are dying? "
Another good story is Mosley's answer to the question why he calls himself a Fascist—" Because I got tired of explaining that we weren't Fascists "—which explains a good deal about the political world of today.
Mr. Jerrold has always been rather a mystery to the Catholic circles of this country. There are, of course, dozens of distinguished Catholics who do not work within the held of specifically Catholic activities, but Jerrold has succeeded in being something of a Belloc or Woodruff without ever crossing the boundary that divides secular from religious activity. So much so, that when a year or so ago a number of what were supposed to be the leading Catholic fights in literature and journalism were called together at Westminster for a conference no one had thought of asking Jerrold, editor then of the English Review!
This " success " on his part may be due to his religious upbringing, which was in the strictest atmosphere of what he calls " Edwardian detachment." " It was,
indeed," he writea " very far from fashionable among Catholics in those days to suggest that Catholicism entailed any specific view of social or political questions . . . Just as my father's generation always defended the Liberal Party by proving that they would assuredly leave the world very much as they had found it, so they defended the good citizenship of Catholics on the ground that in secular matters they were
just as other men." But Jerrold, though he has maintained an exterior detachment from the circle which has been unkindly named " a religious mutual admiration society," has been forced by the growing anarchy and disintegration around him to write more and more as the best.profes
sional Catholic apologist writes. And it may be that he has influenced the Catholic circle in his own political direction.
Wit and Religion
Discussing the humour of Punch, Jerrold points out that the wittiest writers of the day—Evelyn Waugh, J. B. Morton, Bevan Wyndham Lewis, Hugh Kingsmill and R. A. Knox—do not contribute to Punch, whose chief aim he describes as the keeping up of that sense of superiority among those income-tax-payers who still believe that they are members of the governing classes. It is curious that if we include Jerrold himself among the number, 5 out of 6 are Catholics. I am reminded of Mallock's analysis in the New Republic of how all wit and humour lies in the detection of truth through revered and reigning falsehood and how therefore " the wit, the innuendo, the humour of the world all owe their existence or, at any rate, their flavour to Christianity."
A S Sir Reginald Rowe exclaimed in The Times: ' Arthur Kitson dead, and not a word abotit him in the Press that I have seen!" It is really difficult not to believe in the conspiracy of silence in regard to the inconveMent. Any twopenny-halfpennv publicist and any halfpenny financier gets his paragraph (1 even expect to read a note about myself one day from " another place"), but complete silence about a man who has denoted himself to the reform of the present financial system and been President of the Banking and Currency Reform League. The champion of "King's money " against 13ank-ereated money, the fighter against usury. is not even allowed
obituary-credit for his other work. He invented the Kitson Lamp, now widely used in lighthouses. I have insufficient economic training to judge of his reforms, popularised in many books and articles. but I do know that there is considerably less nonsense in them than in three-quarters of the nostrums and reforms that automatically get top-place in our Press,