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Bernays' speech, the Cardinal chose to speak of education. His special plea was for the village school. After outlining the difficulties, past and present, under which Catholics work and stint themselves for their schools, the Cardinal asked: " May I be allowed to plead that in the schemes of reorganisation our village schools may be preserved, safeguarded and improved? I dread the decapitation of our small rural schools by the transfer of boys and girls over 11 years to central schools.
"I fear that our families of the rural population—if and where industrialism has left any such—may be attracted to the big towns, and so more and more of our people may be made town-crazy.
Back to the Land
"Depopulation of our villages is disastrous. Revive. the love of the land. A stable rural population is the mainstay of the nation.
"The healthy country child cannot stand the atmosphere of the town—its furious speed of life and the fumes of petrol—and once you get him town-crazy you cannot easily attract him back to the land.
" Why not make the schools in rural areas all-age schools, improved, reconditioned, provided with adequate staffs. This would mean, I submit, not only less expense than building costly senior schools, but it would mean also education more suitable to the life of that class of which England once had reason to be proud—her sturdy yeoman stock."
Whole Health Later, the Cardinal asked what education is and answered himself that it is health—
health of the whole man. Hence the necessity of religion in education and of moral training. The first school is the family . . . He ended his speech with a compliment to the Ministry's health campaign and a recommendation that education must not neglect minds and immortal souls. Dame Meriel Talbot, 0.B.E., scheduled to discuss migration, did so in record speed and with record practicability and as the night was wearing on we were grateful to her. She demanded that those who wished to seek posts in the Dominions should, in the first place, be trained for them, and in the second place be adaptable enough to take other positions if their own did not materialise immediately.
Health Minister in Great Haste She was interrupted by the advent of Mr. Walter Elliot hot from the House.
Mr. Elliot, thinking still of rural housing, had things to say for the country. lie called the countryside " a sheet anchor of sanity " which tallied nicely with earlier words of the Cardinal. For the rest, Mr. Elliot barely got himself acquainted with the gathering before time suggested that an end should be made of a long, but infinitely interesting, meeting.
At nearly the eleventh hour the crowds poured out of the Albert Hall. Representatives from every diocese in England, especially many from Liverpool; Birmingham and Leeds sent a hundred members of the local Catholic Women's League. From overseas came representatives of Australia, Canada, Ceylon, Malta, New Zealand and South Africa, Telegrams during the meeting were received from the Vatican, from His Majesty King George VI, and from the Malta C.W.L.