The Heart of England
Who was the great traducer who once said, “The Daily Mirror for those who can’t read, and the Daily Mail for those who can’t think”? Surely that was in the nebulous period now referred to as “before the war.” Should he have evaded the Roll of Honour, and have attained either the “dole” or the O.B.E., it is devoutly to be hoped he will emerge from his deserved obscurity and revise at least the second half of his glib, but glaucous epigram. For does not the Daily Mail devote two columns each day to “What Our Readers Think”? It does. For the expenditure of one poor humble penny, any day, one can be stirred to one’s inmost wave-lengths by the spectacle of our nation doing its thinking. Heart-throbs by the hundredweight, and thinking by the rod, pole or perch. Any issue will do.
Take this one of January 13th. Mr. Sumner-Jones, hailing from proletarian Piccadilly, leads off with:
“France, through your invaluable pages, can see into our hearts, and recognise the fact that the blind policy of our Government is not approved by the British people.”
There now. You’d never have thought that, would you? But this is more thoughtful:
“May I thank you for your splendid stand for France, almost alone as you are and in opposition to the section of the Press, which has learnt nothing and forgotten everything.”
That is from Mr. Brenton Gray, a gentleman with two names, but only one brain. You might possibly suggest that the “section” he speaks of having learnt nothing, could not possibly forget everything; but there you see, we cannot all be thinkers. Then there’s Samuel Willie, from Yeovil. He says: “Your leading article, ‘God Speed to France,’ “should re-act on the heart and conscience of every unselfish patriot throughout the Empire.”
Is it necessary to add that Sam Willie is an unselfish patriot?
Then “Regular Subscriber” insists that “all that is best in the British Empire will be with you.”
Can one doubt that “Regular Subscriber is included in “all that is best”?
“If Bonar Law could only read the minds of the people he would get a surprise,” says another original possessor of grey matter. Let H. S. take heart. The feat is not an easy one, and “surprise” is quite an inadequate term of it were accomplished.
Mr. Davis, of Brighton, is a true Briton. “I thoroughly agree with the French action as, I hope, does every other true Briton.”
As W. S. Gilbert phased it:
“For he himself has said it,
And its greatly to his credit”
Mr. Sadler is flattering. “It is, indeed, like you to side with common-sense and justice.”
The Editor’s blushes are not recorded. Perhaps he was looking for an antemetic. Modesty you will see is equally the possession of the Editor and his readers. As F. H. puts it: “Every intelligent patriotic man is behind you.”
We are, indeed, a great nation; though it is sadly to be feared that modesty will prove our undoing. Capt. James Murphy reminds us of the saying of the German officer to the British Officer: “You will always be fools, and we shall never be gentlemen.” Notice the implication. Modesty forbids our dwelling on it. As that poet of pacifism and true British modesty, Rudyard Kipling has enshrined it:
“Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart;
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget.”
W. T. Hopley