German Casualties IT is strange how a little personal bit I of information has much more persuasive value thanseafl the propaganda in the world. At home we have just received a letter from a German girl who was a maid some time before the war. She writes from Switzerland, where she is married to a Swiss. She tens us that of her three brothers, one is listed as killed on the Eastern front, another as missing on the same front, and the only safe one is the third in the Luftwaffe. Somehow that letter conveyed the truth about the German disasters in the East, where life went cheaper even than in the flying services.
Military Visitation FEW farmers have to face the dangers and experiences of the farmer in St. Margarets who has been decorated for carrying on under such conditions. But nowadays it is a common experience for a farmer to have his place overrun for two or three days on end by the military. A friend of mine returned home by car one evening to find his garage turned into a military headquarters equipped with wireless and every other gadget, while the colonel was sleeping peacefully in his sitting-room. Apparently yous.get a penny a night per man and sixpence per officer for this enforced service. My friend, who needs a week to put things right after the visitation, is emphatic about its not paying. On this same occasion some soldiers settled down with other and richer people in the vicinity. The lady of the house was indignant because her lawns were cut up. When she complained, the men only said: " Well now, so there are still idle rich about in this part of the country." She indignantly retorted: " We're not idle, and were not very rich!"
Secret of Success WRITING about farmers, I hear a VT great deal of the work of the War Agricultural Committees. They are naturally far from popular and I have many instances of their extraordinary proceedings in refusing to allow the old and experienced farmers to do their own work as they alone know how. And, though it is recognised in the country that some degree of compulsion to Inake lazy farmers do their job is necessary, the general view—and I think it is a sound one—is that if you can guarantee the average farmer a
steady and paying return he will . be quick enough to do his job properly. " If agriculture is in a much better state to-day," I was told, " it is not because of the committees hut because farmers are beginning to have confidence again."
Country Life I WING in the country teaches one to 'Li beware of the generalisations that are so often made by writers and journalists. How many people, for example, realise that in a country district not thirty miles from Charing Cross there are still many people who have never been up to London. In fact neighbours of ours have never gone as far as the chief local town about eight miles away. For hundreds of thousands in the real country life has gone on practically unchanged for generations. As far as I can see the only real importations into their lives these days are wireless, which is almost universal, and the local cinema, for which a weekly expedition is made, more especially by the younger people.
Back to the Land nN Monday morning I overheard a City man declaring to his neighbour in the train.: " Now I am going up to the City for a well-earned rest." And he went on to detail the work lie had been putting in in his garden during the week-end. I felt in hearty sympathy with his point of view. " Going back to the land " was a delightful idea in theory—and •it is still delightful in practice, especially at this time of year. But it does demand time, energy and muscle if the land is to be prevented from returning to its pristine subtropical aspect. I am also faced with the need of rushing to my table between poultry feedings, planting onions, digging what has been kft undug and perpetual weeding (not to mention wood-cutting, getting pea-sticks, conveying myself four miles to the nearest real village to buy voles, and spraying the grub-eaten pear trees—not to mention also stopping the vine, watering the seedlings, lopping off branches that shade cold-frames, putting the ducks to bed) . . Dear me, where was le Anyhow, I have to try to find time to write an occasional article, the proceeds from which enable me to have the privilege of spending my week-ends as above, instead of lounging in a chair, reading a book, listening to the wireless or painting a picture.
Enlivening Journalism ACCURACY in reporting was men"tinned in the course of the Press Conference. I was amused therefore to note in the Polish Sword of the Spirit weekly that a reprint of Count Romer's speech at the Conference was preceded by a note which stated— among other things—that Mr. Douglas Woodruff was the editor of this paper. While Catholic journalism might temporarily be enlivened by the transposition of the editors of the Tablet and this paper, I feel that Mr. Woodruff will demand the fullest apologies for being made responsible for our lowbrow fare.
The Press on Religion AVERY exceptional press reception was given to the Christian Cooperation Joint Statement, five daily papers writing up the story. I hear that the interest in America is tremendous, one well-known American flying here in a bomber to be present at the meeting in London. A long cable was also sent to the Ameriean press. 'Yet the Pope's Jubilee Allocution was scarcely covered at all. " News slant " on religion is always difficult to judge. The man must bite the dog—or embrace him; and it is preferable that both men and dog should be colourful prelates of the highest degree. That and attacks on pornography. I •xcept, of course, Nazi persecutions of a living Church and Soviet tolerance of one already destroyed.