My Fated Flight
IT was my luck, good or bad as you will, to be in the air-liner Horatius, when it was struck by lightning last week. Apparently I ought to say, when it struck itself with lightning. It was an uncomfortable experience. The worst, perhaps, was the pilot's rapid descent, apparently into the sea, after the incident, in order to see where he was. The passengers, I must say, behaved admirably : they were mostly journalists who are used to shocks, and Miss Ellen Wilkinson, fresh from the battlefields of Spain.
—and Miss Wilkinson
• I confess that I was so interested in Miss Wilkinson that I failed to give the excitements their full due. She continued calmly to read the Spectator, and was so enthralled by its sound Conservatism that
she did not even blink. The journalists were the guests of Imperial Airways, and, on the whole, the company could scarcely have chosen a better flight for demonstrating the fundamental safety of modern aviation. It was my privilege to be the 250,000th passenger in this class of airliner, and with this record behind me and the thought that one can safely fly through an actual thunder-clap, I am content to fly for ever. I take great pride in the fact that I was the only passenger with sufficient pessimism to wire from Le Bourget that I should probably arrive by train after all.
A Subtle Newspaper
WHEN I met the Editor of the Osservatore Romano some months ago, he spoke to me about the difficulties of his job. The Osservatore is universally quoted as the Vatican, or the Pope, and for this reason it rarely dares to open its mouth wide. It has to obtain its effects by subtlety, and there is a great art in reading it. It says much through the juxtaposition of different news items. Thus news of the persecution in Germany will be flanked by an account of some manifestation in Warsaw in honour of the Papal Nuncio and below perhaps an account of the religious revival in Nationalist Spain or of some meeting of the French Catholic Youth in Front Populaire Paris.
At present it is giving much news about Germany, but carefully culling it from Dutch and Swiss papers, not our own information.**
That Villainous Pacelli
OUR German Correspondent has sent us a batch of Nazi anti-religious cartoons, the most remarkable feature of which is their close resemblance to the Bolshevik cartoons, a typical example is illustrated on page 3. The one I print here is called " Pius XI does not answer." It is founded on the double meaning of the German word Steuer which is both steeringwheel " and " tax." The Nazi with the smile is brandishing the German Note of Protest against the American Cardinal Mundelein's speech and the Anti:Nazi Encyclical. Cardinal Pacelli, the Pope's Secretary of State, is the villainous-looking cleric at the helm; in front of him lies the Log Book " Anti-Nazi Course," and the Concordat. He is saying, " We still hold the steering-wheel of the Church (das kirchensteuer) in our hands." " Ahal " cries the Nazi, " but we've got the Church tax (die kirchensteuer)."
IT is an to read that Andy Sandharn has been appointed cricket coach at Beaumont. It must be the first time that a cricketer of his distinction has been ap
pointed to a Catholic Public School. It is certainly " one up " for Beaumont, and
Sandham himself, we venture to suggest, will find in that delightful school on the Thames a most happy life. Beaumont takes sport seriously and has done very well for a school of its size. But it has not succeeded in producing many first-class cricketers since the war. I can only recall Denis Russell, who has played for Middlesex, but I don't think even he got his blue at Oxford.
The Real Spanish Left
IWAS reminded of the Duke of Alba's explanation to me of the rapidity and ease with which Reds are turned into Phalangists in Spain when I read WingCommander James's recent article in The Times. He there tells the story of how a big landowner had been persecuted by a Socialist mayor before the war. Meeting a friend lately, the landowner was con
gratulated on the change of times. Not at all," he had to reply, "I can't get away from the fellow. He is the colonel of our local falangist battalion." if only British Labour knew where its real social-reforming interests lay!
OUR Paris correspondent who has written ten this week on the " foreign invasion " in France has forwarded to me some amusing cartoons. One shows a man saying : " It's quite simple : since my mother is Russian and my father German, I am French and my son will be Bulgarian." Another shows a slim and beautiful impersonation of France saying: As for me, I buy my children ready-made." A third contains a sly hit at foreigners in public life. Two men are walking away from the department for naturalisation. One says: " And now, I are going to change my name to Dupont." The other replies : " For myself. 1 shall keep to Schwartzbaum : I want to go into politics."
MY wireless brought me last week both Mussolini's speech on the League and, from a Moscow station, the translation into English of Stalin's election speech. I hope
I am not offering a sacrifice to the Editorial blue pencil, but I want to say that the crowd's cries of " Duce! Duce! " sounded definitely sub-human, like the beat of a mammoth machine, and that the Duce's quick rasping tones gave the impression of great bitterness and defiance.
At any rate, from Rome something big, almost elemental, was coming. Moscow was just a joke, though a grim one. In that curious sing-song English without a spark of animation there flowed the childish phrases of the Red Tsar, and in exactly the same tone, the words " applause," " loud and vigorous applause," punctuated every sentence. Stalin compared the Russian elections with our own, holding that the former were freer since the electors were not influenced by capitalist interests. He did not dare compare them with Hitler's elections, for the two are identical.
The Janitor's Overcoat
NEAR Glasgow, I see, two Scottish educational bodies are still discussing, after weeks of it, the question as to whether the janitor of the Catholic school at Bothwell should be given a winter coat. Days are cold in those parts, and the janitor long ago proclaimed his need : " I want an overcoat." Although he hasn't yet got it, there is at any rate no doubt in the minds of the authorities as to what is re
quired. It was different in the Strand, some years ago, when a timid Londoner, walking by night, was accosted by a Scot of threatening visage and unimpeachable accent. The same demand was put, suddenly and, as it seemed, menacingly: " I want an overcoat." Here was banditry, highway robbery—until presently the Northerner was able to make it clear that what he was after was Hanover Court!