New England, most crowded country, is half empty 4.*
By Fr. Bernard
I▪ S• it ever safe to generalise about another country after a month's stsy ? The impudence would be treble in the case of America, a continent with a botch potch of nationalities and traditions drawn from many lands. Yet one thing stands out clearly after a month in New England: that an utterly false picture of America reaches Europe through the movies, television programmes and glossy magazines. Even the American tourists are abnormal for they are out of their normal setting like a monkey in the zoo or me over here.
No cows ..
THE first surprise for me was that New England is underpopulated. indeed halfempty and yet New England is the most crowded part of
America. Cumberland and the Yorkshire moors are more thickly populated than t h c country here. Outside Boston one may motor for miles in delightful country with not a person or a house in sight. Indeed I have not yet seen an American cow though I have heard one; the cattle all live in the mid west of Vermont. have not seen a hen walking about. Hens work out their salvation in some other region and they travel to New England in tins. My only horse was an old one seen in Boston pulling a cart. 1 must have motored six hundred miles with my eyes for ever drinking in the beauty of the New England scenery and wondering at the wickedness of those who tell us all to limit our families or the world will soon be over-populated. An American told me that the whole population of the country could be fitted comfortably into five East Coast States. I know, Americans, like all of us, sometimes exaggerate.
WE Europeans form the official Hollywood view that Americans are bustling, noisy, rich, divorced, boastful, sexy, spending their lives on pleasure beaches and knocking oft only to have a shot at the police. Here in New England it is not uncommon to find families of six or more children, all delightful and very well behaved. The Americans I have met are generous to the point of embarrassing their guest but they certainly are not rich. I have visited two Universities and was astonished to find that many of the students take parttime jobs in the evenings or clean the college building to earn a few dollars to pay for their education. New England townships are free of the hoardings and glaring posters which ruin our countryside. I have yet to see an advertisement for underwear or those low movie posters which make the London streets and stations so disreputable. Even in New York I was astonished by American restraint. There is much in the States which is vulgar and shoddy but they are not the
hoodlums that Hollywood makes them out to be.
Where I am
WRITE from Fairfield
I University. Connecticut, about 50 miles North of New York. In the past week I spoke at Pomfret, Hartford, Waterbury, and visited the very famous Jesuit University of Holy Cross, Worcester. One thousand undergraduates packed the lecture hall. Every minute of my visit was marked by small courtesies, the most pleasing and common to all American audiences. that the audience stands up to applaud a visiting lecturer both before and after his address. They rise as a mark of respect. • I leave for New York tomorrow for another round of engagements, very sad to leave New England and its hospitable and homely folk.
AN old priest in this house was recently annointed. After the last Amen he said to the celebrant: "Thanks Ned, I hope have the pleasure of doing it for you one day".