What is believed to be the first quicklunch and " snack " bar for passengers at a railway-station in this country has just been opened by the Great Western Railway on No. 1 platforial at Paddington. We have not yet had an opportaftity of visiting it, but we hope that in quality, variety and price of food it will mark the beginning of a general improvement of the feeding arrangements on all the railways throughout the country.
This is a continual subject for grousing. and it should continue to be until something serious is done about it. We ourselves had occasion recently to travel weekly to and fro for some months from London to a northern city. For a few journeys we had dinner on the train, and then gave it up in despair: the food was dull, poorly cooked and unappetisingly served, mean in quantity, and the cost exorbitant for what one got. " Refreshments" in the carriage were a bit better, but they cost about twice as much as similar things in an ordinary café. The threepenny cup of tea (and all that goes therewith) in the station buffet is a disgraceful institution.
Perhaps the high charges are necessitated by the absurdly genteel standard of it all. Well then, let the rich and great have their four courses and stiff napkins and head-waiter and chaps in boiled shirts and brass buttons and the rest of the paraphernalia in a small select saloon: and enable the general run of passengers to buy good honest meals at honest prices. Many more people would lunch and dine and the railways would make more money.
Presumably, they would not mind that.
And Other 'Discomforts
And talking of railways, why are sonic of the London termini so parsimonious in providing seats on their platforms? Oui much-vaunted progress in material conveniences is accompanied by many inconveniences, some of which (e.g., the disgusting overcrowding in buses and tubes) doubtless are difficult to avoid. But there is no reason why people should have IC) get tired out before a long journey, walking around or shifting from one foot to another on a railway-station. Thc undergrounds in London, too, seem to think that the frequency of their trains makes an adequate supply of platforin. seats unnecessary. It is a mistake.
Mr. Osbert SitweU. in the Daily Tele graph hist week, drew attention in an amusing way to the discomforts suffered in these days by the tall. He might have given a dishonourable mention to the London buses, whose seats are so those together that the man or woman of about 5ft. 10in. cannot sit uncramped in them,
It's all part of the progress ramp, a "progress" that codd'es us insanely and, at the same time. ruins ow nerves, cramps ow bodies. and sickens our souls. And we put up with it like a lot of silly sheep.
Looking At A Gift Horse
Ten thousand pounds, most would say. is not to be sneezed at. Yet it was sneezed at only a few days ago, the sneezing taking the form of the issue of what is known as a fly-sheet notifying members of the Regent House, the ordinary governing body of the University of Cambridge, that opposition would be offered to a forthcoming motion (or 'grace") to acknowledge a gift of £10,000, and giving the reasons for it. The gift is from Sir John Siddeley, of Armstrong-Siddeley fame, and was made to the university in order to further aeronautical research. The opposition does not oppose aeronautical research, but wants the acceptance of the gift to be hedged about by precautions against the furtherance of aerial warfare and the international trade in armaments.
A Case For First Principles Since opposed motions are by custom not submitted in vacation, the grace has been withdrawn for the time being. We wish that we could think that it would eventually be discussed with a firm grasp of the moral principles involved. But it is, hardly for, us as Catholics to throw stones when we ourselves have not yet faced up (except sometimes sentimentally) to the challenge of those who would put aerial warfare into a special category as morally illegitimate, even when war by other methods would be justified. We ourselves are inclined to think that there are two or three methods that might be grouped together in a class of this kind, and that aerial warfare is one of them. Hut it is a matter for argument, not feeling, and we should like to hear the ease on the other side.
" Guinness Is Good For You
According to the liguics given by Lord Iveagh, the chairman, at the annual meeting of Messrs. Guinness in London last week, " Guinness" is good for you not only as a beverage but as a speculation. In proposing the final dividend of 12 p.c and a bonus of 5 p.c., making a total Par the year of 29 p.c., and leaving £846,308 to be carried forward, Lord lveagh said
The Englishman has a reputation for taking his pleasures sadly but in view of the summer-school vogue it may be also claimed for him that he knows how to take his serious studies pleasantly. In days when a 'Vest match is reported with all the gravity attaching to a national crisis it is refreshing to find discussions on high theological or sociological topics carried on to the accompaniment of tennis tournaments and rural excursions. If the technique of bowling, is debated with the earnestness attendant upon sclaelastic philosophy, it is a relief to know that scholastic philosophy can be expounded as though it were a form of recreation. Of the two extremes the palm must go to those who can temper education with sport rather than to those who take sport as the chief item of "education."
" Warning Figures
Under the above heading The Times has called attention in a leading article to a weighty communication contributed to its columns concerning the falling birth-rate of the British Empire. The figures given are surprising, and the contrast with countries like Italy and Germany, where government encouragement has resulted in large increases of population, is made the greater by the fact that we possess in our colonies vast areas only awaiting settlers to become richly productive.
To hold these potentially wealthy domains and refuse to fill them with our own people is a dog-in-the-manger policy that wears a specially ugly look when the peace of the world is being threatened by the need of Colonial expansion on the part of other nations. if we cannot or will not populate our dominions ourselves it is time that we announced the fact and offered the chance to those who are straining to find homes for surplus populations.
The allegation made by nazi authorities that Catholics have been conspiring with communists, absurd as it must appear to anyone acquainted with the facts, is not
necessarily insincere. There is a wellknown mental state in which the fear that others are plottieg against one plays a prom;nent part. The victim of this pathological condition has only to see two individuals talking together in order to innigine that they are talking about him. It is a form of ego-mania to which. repressive griverninents are particularly subject. Such extravagant suspicions as those referred to merely betray the unbalanced mental state of the nazi regime and suggest Oat its position is more precarious than might seem to be the case.
Dr. E. G. Gardner's Fascism
A correspondent writes: " Full justice has beer. done in the press to the great qualities of heart and mind possessed Ly the late Professor Gardner. But there was one side of his sympathies which received only scant
notice, made no secret of his ardent admiration for Mussolini and his regime. In a lecture on Professor Hcrford as an Italian Scholar,' he said, concerning the fascist revolution: I see in that message tho means of salvation for our Western civilization. To me the Hutto accelerato della vita ilaliana, with the heroic Roman spirit personified in Benito Mussolini, is a glowing example to the lovernments and nations of the world.'
"Perhaps the failure to record this phase of life late professor's outlook arose from the difficulty of reconciling it with his own tolerant and gentle spirit. Yet the transition from an admiring study of Dante to appreciation of the dictator who. like the poet, would revive the glory of theesars, is not difficult to
Brit'sh Diplomacy And Japan
Sir Frederick Leith Ross, Treasury expert and economic adviser to the government, is leaving for China and is shortly to proceed to Tokyo, ..here an AngloJapanese conference is to take place in October, with the avowed object of discussing problems relative to the Pacific and the Far East. it is rumoured that England is likely to play the role of mediator between China and Japan.