AM informed by an excellent source that one of the regulations in Hamburg is that schoolchildren must not walk abroad in crocodile formation. This almost universal custom where schoolchildren have to walk in cities under the supervision of their masters or mistresses is deemed by the British authorities dangerous, as it tends to keep alive the spirit of German militarism. The poor nuns in Hamburg have somehow to shepherd their girls in a state of anarchy through the traffic. I hate using the cliché. " Whom the gods wish to destroy . . .," but never. surely was there a time when it simply cries to be used.
ANOTHER example of lunacy in
administering Germany comes to me from the American Zone. A well-known physicist with close connections in this country and an open critic even in Nazi days of racialism had to appear before a de-Nazification Tribunal, as he had continued to live and work under Hitler. Among the questions he was asked was the following: How was it that he had begotten six children, one after the other, under Hitler ? To " give so many boys and girls to the Fuehrer " was highly suspicious and needed a lot of explaining.
The Baby's First Word
A PREACHER last Sunday spoke " of the Catholic custom of trying to get the baby to utter the Holy Name as his or her first spoken word. I wonder whence this idea
originated ? Surely it is an estab lished fact that the word "Mamma" or Dadda is inevitably the baby's first word because it is his first natural labial or dental sound. We argued over the Epiphany goose whether " Mamma " or " Dadda " came first, but reached no conclusion, the parties being divided according to sex.
I HAVE praised the B.B.C. Third
Programme in this column. but I think there is something in the remark made in a contemporary that this programme reflects the British inability to provide good stuff without a lot of expensive ritual and social snobbery. Why, amid the obscurer pleasures in music. talks, plays provided. must the B.B.C. go out of its way to broadcast Shaw's early Victorian " Black Girl in Search of God "—and on a Sunday? Perhaps the highbrow mind was impressed by the fact that it dealt with the Bible It is Shaw at his worst, indeed, at the level of a rationalistic tract. the sort of stuff which no one could mock more effectively than himself.
T WAS writing last week on the topic of Catholic dailies and monthlies, and am now brought back to firm earth by the receipt of a little roneo newspaper, called the Islington Catholic News. And very good it is, as is its stated aim:
" while catering for a locality, we want to reflect the spirit of the Catholic and Universal Church established by Jesus Christ for the salvation of all men." Such enterprise, repeated in z large number of parishes, would make a big difference.
From the paper I quote a paragraph called " To-day ": " Their combined ages are not more than 45. She works as a waitress, he sells gent's hosiery. Thursdays and Saturdays they go to the dogs; Mondays and Fridays to the cinema; Wednesday is football pool evening: Sundays they dance. Every night they ' must have some thing to do.' Dog-racing is their favourite pastime, because it gives them a thrill and a chance to make money. They both live with their parents: between them they earn more than £8 a week. They plan to get married and have a car."
ODD differences between the Catholic outlook in different countries strike one when one reads Catholic papers from abroad. Thus in the French weekly, Temps Present, I have just read a long article criticising British sentimentality towards Germany as evidenced during the Schumacher visit. The writer has a right to his own views, but what is surprising is that the article never once mentions from beginning to end any moral, let alone Christian, consideration. It is all the more amusing to read in the same issue a brief review of Stafford Cripps's book, Towards a Christian Democracy, where he is described as " exposing with great sinzplicity his theories on the role of the Church, etc." I think I prefer Cripps's great simplicity.
Temoignage Chretietz, a weekly closely connected with the Jesuits, is running as a serial The Keys of the Kingdom, a novel generally viewed in this country as well-intentioned. but falling far short of Catholic orthodoxy in important respects. The film was a great improvement.
Civil Servants' Time
1 A THAT the much abused Civil
Servants do with their spare time at the office seems to have been disclosed by Lord Vansittart in his offer of a £25 prize open to members of the Societysof Civil Service Authors for the best first novel submitted by September 30 of this year. This matter should raise again the old question whether creative writing is best done regularly in the odd half-hour between two other jobs, or in the early morning before work, or in the train. or whether it needs a burst of inspiration fostered by a country cottage or a journey abroad. Odd moments. I will observe, are very good for " Jotter " notes. In any case, the thing to avoid is Bridge —the most pernicious and undefeatable waster of spare time ever devised.