CHRISTMAS greetings to all faithful readers of " Feminine
Forum." What I was going to talk to you about this week and what I am going to talk about are two very different things. This edition is second thoughts, the first (now in the W.P.B.) was completely Scrooge-like, full of woe ! woe ! and European distress, not to speak of a few black spots at home. I've been meeting a good many people who have lust come back from darkest Europe and the tales they have unfolded have been enough to make each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
But I won't pass them on, at least not this week, to be ghosts at the Christmas dinner. After all, ghosts cannot be fed, and whatever dinner Britons eat on Christmas Day will have been earned by six years' toil, sacrifice and discipline. I really do believe We are considerably chastened this sixth Christmas of the war and more conscious of social wrongs and injustices than we have ever been before. And to be aware is a step in the right direction. Well. that's all I'm going to say about the gloomy side of life this Christmastide. The rest of this column is going to be mere gossip.
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LEl's see what the B.B.C. is doing for us. The Messiah, hardy and most welcome annual, comes appropriately from the north—Hudderstield. What southern choir can compete with
these grand northern voices ? Dr. Malcolm Sargent is the conductor and this -broadcast is the day after Boxing Day.
Margaretta Scott is taking part in Music Magazine on Christmas Eve and she is going to talk about Music in Shakespeare's plays. On the whole, have suffered keenly from the people who burst into song in Shakespeare, as actors seldom have good singing voices and the music they seem to think that Shakespeare used is jerky and angular. The composer whom I consider best muinned to give Shakespeare's words a suitable setting is Roger Quitter. That is because he is not self-conscious about it. He does it in his own idiom and the -result has been some very lovely songs. But that is merely my own personal opinion. How many British children read Uncle Remus to-day ? What a lot they miss if they don't. Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit and the old negro slave were very much part of my own childhood, and so I will try to listen to the ballet suite that Gordon Jacob has written on this theme on Tuesday. Final choice this coming week will be Benjamin Britten's setting of Michelangelo's Sonnets which Peter Pears will sing on Friday with the composer as accompanist. Most important broadcast to us Catholics, of course, is Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve from Ampleforth. The drama section is giving. on Christmas Eve, Stephen Vincent Benet's A Child Is Born. Benet, who died last year, was one of America's foremost writers and poets.
* a a 11 ABOUT the Dames of St. Joan, of whom I spoke last week. Don't confuse them with St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance. The latter is a world-wide movement with a strong contingent in all the Dominions, and I should think they are the most significant body of Catholic women in existence They are, as Mrs. Laughton Mathews said the other day of all the women's suffrage societies, the watchdogs of freedom. They seem to know, even far sooner than the press sometimes, what measures are coming up for discussion in Parliament and, in addition to the general matters affecting the welfare of women, they are always ready to pounce on any measure brought before the House which cuts across Christian teaching. The recent " easy divorce " proposals was
a case in point. It was St. Joan's Alliance who first brought it to our notice.
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VILM critics have had a very thin A time lately. There has been more tomfoolery to the square inch of celluloid than, I should think, ever before in the history of the talkies. But, with one of those glad breaks in the clouds, my last week's experience was a both surprising and pleasant. I saw Flenry V. Summer Storm and Western Approaches. With Laura the week before I begin to feel that things arc looking up a bit. All London children should drag their parents along to the Carlton during the Christmas season, and when Henry goes to the provinces all discerning children should also see that their parents take them to see the best Shakespeare film yet—best by a long chalk I