By G. Elliot Anstruther
LAND of our Fathers, or at any rate of the fathers of some of us. To-day is a day for turning a thought to Wales, with homage to St. David and good opinion of the red dragon. The feast of the Principality's patron saint has social rather than religious observance among the bulk of a national population still largely Nonconformist; but all the same we can hope that there will be many, this morning, besides Catholics, to give honour to God on account of His servant, the Bishop who flourished fourteen centuries ago.
In recent years the Church's good doings in Wales have included the restoration of the Mass to St. David's own cathedral city, where a church unites, fo'r titular honour, the national apostle and his mother, St. Non. The faithful of the country, by the way, obey, in the northern parts, the Bishop of the only ancient Catholic see south of the Tweed to be restored in its own name. Menevia was the diocese of St. David's own foundation. To-day's Bishop of Mencvla, for whom the feast day makes an opportunity to tender to his lordship respectful good wishes for himself and his increasing flock, is, like the saint, a Welsh-speaking prelate; and a growing number of Welsh-speaking priests constitute one of the hopes for greatlyaccelerated Catholic progress, of which there are already signs.
Lutterworth's Grand Old Man
WtEN this writer uead, last week, iat Canon Hazeland was seriously ill, his mind went back to a day, seemingly remote, in John Wyclif's town, when an inquiry of the first passer-by for Fr. Hazeland—he was not yet Canon—brought the answer: "I'll show you; everybody here knows Fr. Hazeland." On the way to the presbytery the guide and the guided passed a public statue: it was Wyclif himself, dead and turned in stone. And — believe it or not, as "Ripley" counsels—the local inhabitant could tell the new arrival no more about that recalcitrant cleric than that he was "one of the old preachers." Sic transit. In the little Leicestershire town the parish priest had first place with the local mind, and with nothing of the live ass and dead lion about it either!
Lutterworth has seen a good deal of Catholic activity since Canon Hazelaad went there sixty years ago, including public Evidence lectures. These latter were arranged for by the late Lord Braye, who brought to the town speakers of much eminence and learning. They did not produce the conversion of Lutterworth, for Lutterworth was at that time hardly equal to such high fare. One might apply to the occasion what really belongs, as a story, to somewhere else : "'Twee a grand lecture, that." "Did you understand it, • 'Betty ?" " Understand it? Would I have the presumption!"
Good Fare from the Farm
OUGHT a man of only fifty-three, not in a galloping consumption, nor sentenced to be hanged, nor unduly reckless of the peril of the black-out, to be deemed ripe for reminiscences? Mr W. J. Blyton has up till now had less than seventeen years of Catholic life; there be many of his friends who hope to shake him by the hand when he attains the golden jubilee of his allegiance; yet already he has made a book of his earthly experiences—his earthy, experiences, too, for he is now a Catholic land worker, reaping as well as sowing in a field more important to the nation even than that of journalism. Mr Blyton's Press work, before he took to farming, was mostly concerned with secular newspapers; but there was a period of some years during which his editorship of the Ransomer put many bright and interesting pages into that little monthly, a magazine now lost to us " for the duration." The C.T.S., also, has his name in its catalogue of writers.
On the Castle Hill
THE Archdiocese of Birmingham is a see rich in parishes of long standing. Among them, that of St. John the Baptist, at Alton, must not be out of the picture in celebrations proper to 1940, for it is now a century since beginnings were made in that picturesque town's end, where all know the church on Castle Hill, now a consecrated building. The centenary year finds a local congregation of some 250 souls.
In this part of Staffordshire the Church was fortunate by the benefactions of a Catholic Earl of Shrewsbury, whose generosity was given not only in t he neighbourhood of Alton Towers, but elsewhere also—Cheadle, for a noteworthy case in point. But indeed those who would estimate the zeal for the faith displayed, by money gifts, by that particular Lord Shrewsbury must range still more widely, not confining their survey to the archdiocese.
Lady Eleanor's New Book
LADY ELEANOR SMITH, who in much has inherited the gifts of her brilliant father, the first Earl of Birkenhead, woos the public by yet another novel. The author of Red Wagon, The Spanish House, and at least half a dozen other stories has now produced Lovers' Meeting, a meeting which, as every wise man's son doth know, is at journey's end. But are Lady Eleanor's publishers quite justified by history in their reference to "the fascinating and unusual theme of having been here before"? At such a writer's hands that theme might well take on fascination; but English fiction has surely told us, more than once, of characters who from time to time have revisited, so to speak, the glimpses of our planet. One of them, memory recalls, was a foreign gentleman, one Phra the Phoenician, whose tale was told many years ago. All that, however, is beside the main point of this note, which is to draw attention to this further piece of literary work from Lady Eleanor's pen, another item for the list of her books set out in the Catholic Who's Who.