Mary, Quite Contrary THAT technically excellent monthly, A the Nursery World, a copy of which I seem to see in every household where there are young children, is running a feature on the " meanings and derivations " of Christian names. They have just done Mary. It is hard to believe, but it is a fact that the account of the name succeeds in avoiding all reference whatever to Our Lady. Mary is called " the Queen of Names," the Old and New Testaments arc mentioned, as is the English Authorised version, and after some mention of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Mary II, we triumphantly end with the " Star of the Sea," on the basis of mar meaning sea in many languages. Since in Christian Europe the name has been given in almost every instance until recently in honour of the Virgin Mary, we have here a truly classical instance of not seeing the wood for a few very unimportant bushes. But it is terrifying, this sort of evidence of the completeness of the loss of Christian custom and traditicin in the roost respectable circles.
Maid Rationing I AM told that in Germany every 1. young girl is now obliged to choose between a couple of years training on the land or entering domestic service where household life is learned. The girls, it appears, are parcelled out to homes, whether rich or poor, according to the real need of help, homes where there are many children having the first call on this service. This, if true, strikes me as an interesting contrast with our customs, according to which young women are given every encouragement to leave a home once and for all and never to return to one. Germany is in danger of losing the war. but whatever we may do to her she seems to be taking the wisest steps towards winning the peace again. And if our healthy individualism prevents us rationing maids like clothes, it would surely not be a bad war-time measure to insist that such women as may still remain in domestic service should help mothers with many children instead of remaining the third or fourth servant in expensive households of rich unmarried ladies.
General Smuts MR. Alfred Grosch writes to me in " connection with my query about General Smuts: " According to Sarah Gertrude Millin, the South African authoress, in Britain To-day recently, the answer should be that General Smuts went to war with a Creek Testament and Kant's Critique in his pocket."
The Imitation of Christ, now I come to think of it, was General Gordon's vest-pocket battle book.
From Lima to Westminster T REPRODUCE a photograph of the
message of greeting from the Peruvian Congress to the British Parliament which Senor Emilio Delbos, Liberal representative for Fatnbopata, has brought with him from his native country. He will take back a similar greeting from Westminster. Congress's message makes reference to the Peru
vian people's "admiration and sympathy for the British community in its staunch and heroic defence of justice and liberty." Seller Delbos has visited Cardinal Hinsley, who gave him a signed photograph of himself together with a message arid blessing for the people of Peru.
Royal Descents 0NE of my amusements is tracking down mentions of So-and-So being of royal descent. I notice in the Universe a paragraph about Peter Anson, mentioning his connection with Admiral Lord Anson, whose name has been given to our latest battleship. So far, so good. Then it is said that "he can claim descent from St. Louis of France through Edward the Confessor." So can I, and so can hundreds of thousands of others. The late Marquis de Ruvigny began the work of tracing these royal descents, but after three huge volumes he had to give up. There were too many. The fimily of Edward III married into the nobility, the nobility has married into the gentry, and the gentry into the middle classes. As a result, most people who can trace their pedigree widely enough can find a connection with Edward III and, a fortiori, with Edward the Confessor, St. Louis, Charlemagae, and goodness knows who
else. There is some interest in the descendants of Henry VII, since they are limited to some tens of thousands.
Next of Kin THE November Walburgian, parish magazine of St. Walburge's, Preston, has some excellent thoughts, appropriate for this month and in harmony with what our contributor, Mr, Stanley B. James, has to say above this column. "The bereaved," the Editor writes, " at all times get some satisfaction when they do things in memory of their loved ones, when they publish obituaries in the newspapers, when they have monuments erected in memory of the slain. But there can be nothing to compare with the consolation of the Catholic with Faith, who remembers the teaching of the Church, that the souls of departed friends in Purgatory can be helped by our prayers, that ' it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins. A Catholic With Faith will know that all is not lost, but that the dead dear ones, husbands and sons and brothers, who have given their lives, can be helped by indulgences gained, and above all by Masses offered for their eternal repose. There, then, surely, is our first duty as Catholics— to pray for the dead."
From Gillie Potter "HOMER nods—so does The Jotter HOMER gaffe in re (note facile freedom with polyglot 0—New testament source of whole of my letter— most important links from Old Testatnentl I I
" Shouts from the Protestant world— if Catholic editor don't know Holy Writ what of rank and file?—Popes, Cardinals, Canons Regular of the Laterans and such like."