GRACE in CONWAY LECiISLAT1NG for " the herd," " even when it is benevolent legislation, can have a de-humanising effect on the legislator. All schemes that look at the people en masse should be treated with reserve. The name Bedaux comes to the mind. That gentleman invented a system for factory workers by which he reduced movement of hand, arm and eye to the least common denominator—not, 1 fear, through love of the worker but that more could be got out of him or her. The system is in use in factories all over the world to-day—and it certainly does lessen fatigue, even if the original motive was not very lofty.
The Industrial Health Research Board of the Medical Research Council have just issued quite a human document on the prevention of fatigue, linking it up with an investigation into the causes of absence from work. Here are some of its findings: If the hours of work exceed 60 for men and 55 for women absence increases and production usually drops; evert these hours prove too long for some people; factories having a weekend break of at least one and a half days have less absence, both from illness and from all other causes, than Factories working six or seven days a week. Long, uncomfortable journeys to the factory also contribute to fatigue. Married women lose much more time than single women, mainly because most of them are trying to do two big jobs at once—running a home and working in a factory. (The result of this, as the country is gradually learning to its cost, is that neither job gets done properly. The decrease in output is nothing to the harm done to the rising generation.)
I advise everyone who is interested in her fellow human beings and who does not live with her head in-the sand to try and get hold of this threepenny booklet. The leisured lady living in a safe area might be quite surprised to discover that factory workers are really human hangs and that it is now actually becoming the fashion to regard them individually as Mary Smith or Bill Brown—rather than impersonally as " the 'workers."
Some people have a very peculiar way of looking at life. Have you never
heard someone say—if the Nis or train is uncomfortably crowded—" Where on earth do all the people come from?" They quite forget they themselves form part of the crowd. They ought to read Walt Whitman—it would cure them of looking at the world like a circus run for their special benefit.
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T MET a couple of very unpleasant girls at the Scala Theatre last week by the name of Goneril and Reagan Lear. "Unnatural hags " their father called them, and so they are. This was a great performance by the Donald Won company, who seem to have improved out of all recognition since they began their season some weeks ago. King Lear is an extremely difficult play to stage, and the fact that no fatigue is felt here is due in large measure to Wolfit's own sense of Urgency and his understanding of Lear's character. The "unnatural bags" made their voices sound like the clanging of trams—about the ugliest noise in the world.
What a grand audience too, silent and still. American soldiers in large numbers (no, they're not all film fans), other Servicemen, too—Poles, French, Czechs, Indians, negroes. I often wonder what we've done to deserve Shakespeare and ponder, too, on the strange phenomenon that the boy from Stratford-on-Avon should be the one true international—for he speaks everyone's language.
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THE United States Youth Exhibition,
which is being held in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, aims at giving the youth of Britain an idea of what American life is like, and is more than a success. Every session—Brains Trust, film show and tea party—has a full house, and admission has had to be restricted to ticket holders. The returned British evacuees are put through it every day, answering questions about the schools, games, subjects studied, homework, and they stand up wonderfully well to the quiz. The London children go in a serious, questioning mood, but youth will out and you should have heard the ecstatic "Ooh!" when it was announced that the commentator of one documentary was to be Ingrid Bergman.