Brickbats and Bouquets

Brickbats and Bouquets

April 1 1935
Brickbats and Bouquets

Brickbats and Bouquets

April 1 1935

Brickbats and Bouquets

One Readers Opinion

“Lives of a Bengal Lancer” is showing in Edmonton this week, and in my opinion runs true to form in depicting the best traditions of the British Army. After reading “Shots and Angles” by Ann Ross, I had imagined a film of impossible situations, embellished with American hurrah.

As a movie critic Ann Ross is, in my opinion, a complete washout. She is sceptical that Lieut. Forsythe could recite verse after having his fingernails torn off in a torture chamber. Miss Ross is not very observant or she would have noticed that slivers were run under them and fired, and that at least ten days must have elapsed, according to the growth of men’s whiskers and the time necessary for the savage Maharajah to have captured the ammunition train.—R. M. Young, Edmonton, Alta.

Trees and Moisture

Those who planted their gardens or potato patches on the east side of a poplar bluff during the last two years in this district, reaped a harvest, however small, while those who planted their gardens anywhere else reaped nothing at all.

Over a period of forty years, since the first poplar seedlings appeared in 1891, one could trace the outlines of last winter’s snowbank in the improved stand of wheat east of the poplar bluffs.

When H. G. L. Strange says that wheat roots penetrate the soil to a depth of five feet he is not speaking of this district, where wheat roots do not penetrate below the plowing, usually six inches.

And to state that subsoil moisture does not rise to the surface of a clay loam soil is “strange” indeed.

He says "Soil blowing does not harm the land for wheat producing purposes.” I have in mind several neighboring fields from which the entire cultivated volume of soil has disappeared. Will one hundred years of fertilizing and “seeding down’’ restore that six inches of loam on those farms?

Certainly, soil blowing is an effect of the lack of rain, not the cause, and certainly trees will stop soil blowing as long as there is sufficient moisture to keep the trees alive.

Thanks to poplar bluffs, my own loss from soil drifting has been small.

I agree with Mr. Strange that any large scale tree planting campaign is doomed to failure in districts where native trees are unable to grow.—Frank A. Carswell, Oxbow, Sask.

Grows Trees in West I do not think our failures in wheat growing are due to lack of moisture. In my opinion, we are unable to conserve and use the moisture we do get. High winds are our chief problem. With better and more suitable implements, together with farming practices that will counteract the destructive wind forces, we can grow' wheat here every year.

; Mainly I disagree with Mr. Strange when he says that this Western area is not suitable for growing trees. I have found that trees are comparatively easy to grow'. I have planted many thousands in many places in Saskatchewan, with practically 100 per cent still growing as far as I know. Last year was a so-called dry year, yet my own trees made a remarkable growth.

A row of trees running north and south down the centre of a quarter section would certainly protect at least thirty acres from the terrific west winds. I would also like to ask Mr. Strange what becomes of all the trees that are sent out from the IndianHead Torrent Station.

I have lived here on this prairie from the

cradle, and I don’t see that it is any drier than when I lived in the Southeast as a boy' It is what we farmers have done that has put us in this sorry plight. We have greedily robbed the soil of most of its fibre, and continually cropped and recropped. Wheat, w'heat and w'heat. Summer fallow' is no value. Your magazine is good.—H. R. Patterson, Mendham, Sask.

Garden of Eden

Having spent my boyhood among the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, I w'as very interested to read Miss Brandon’s article on Pitcairn Island. I wras brought up on Norfolk Island, not so very far from Pitcairn as Pacific distances go. The inhabitants of Norfolk Island are the descendants of a part of the Pitcairners who moved to Norfolk Island w'hen the former became a bit crow'ded, also on account of internal strife. Like the Pitcairners they boasted of only four or five surnames between the lot— Christian, Adams, Fletcher, Nobbs, Guinbal.

The landing place at Norfolk Island was also like that of Pitcairn, a jetty built of huge bolders; as the boat came on a level with the jetty on top of a fifteen to twentyfive foot wave, you jumped. These men were marvellous boatmen and made most of their living by whaling, harpooning whales from open rowboats and towing them ashore.

The climate was perfect, the soil decomposed lava, fertile in the extreme. Anything grew there; bananas, yams, oranges and lemons (wild), also guavas, pomegranates and even coffee—a veritable garden of Eden. —J. S. Browning, Rife, Alta.

Appreciates R.T.L.

Many of your thousands of readers must have asked themselves, “Who is R.T.L.?” Now that his identity is known, I hope it will not cause him to stop his sketches. I think it a great misfortune, because the mystery' of his identity gave readers an added thrill.

I ahvays look first for R.T.L. and feel disappointed if there is an issue without his sketch; Maclean's is not complete without it. People who do not appreciate R.T.L. must lack a sense of humor. He has a gift that few people have—the gift of sketching men in the public eye in such a way that even the subject of his sketch must get a hearty laugh out of it. Your cover designs are beautiful, and I believe your cover w'ould sell your paper even if it wras blank inside.

Of course you can’t please everybody, but I’m sure I voice public opinion in saying Maclean's is the best publication in Canada, or on the continent for that matter.—D.G. Greig, Greece’s Point, P.Q.

“A Little Adverse Criticism”

I am presuming again to offer a little adverse criticism on a story I read in your Feb. 15 issue. I refer to Virginia Dale’s “Room Mates.” Well written as this story is, if I were an editor and had a truly good, reputable magazine as my special charge, I would think twice before publishing such a story, particularly in these parlous times.

The heroine was a disgusting, distasteful piece of femininity, and needed, in terms of slang, a good swift kick. The story' left a bad taste in one’s mouth. If I could write as cleverly as Virginia Dale, I’d certainly contrive to expend my genius on better heroes and heroines. Surely that’s not the type of woman prevailing in this depression-ridden world of ours today. There are others surely, scads of them, much nobler and as charmingly beautiful, who, with chin up and reassuring smile, are facing this life’s tasks with such grit and stamina as to provide far

worthier entertainment than Bab in "Room Mates."

And Bab doesn't ring true to form. Whoever heard of a woman holding down such an exalted job as manager of a publishing house being such a fickle, shallow-hearted thing as she? Her ven,knowledge and handling of books would be sufficient to evoke scorn at such petty philanderings.

I'd consider the portrayal of such a despicable character as Bab an insult to my ingenious pen were I Virginia Dale; and if I knew of such a character in real life, were she rich or poor. I’d bun,' her deep down in the innermost recesses of my memory' never to be given light or thought again.—Aline Irons. West Fort William. Ont.

Improving all the Time

I am not much given to reading articles, but the first installment of “Strange Street " leaves me looking fonvard to its continuation with eager anticipation.

It was clever of Mr. Baxter to give us first I the interesting account of the English financial crisis.

Your cover is certainly original, and should be a "howling” success. I hope your next serial is as good as "Resurrection River." Maclean's is improving all the time — keep up the good work !— (Mrs. ) Reginald Geldart, Elgin, N.S.

Not a Stock Exchange

In your issue of February 1, page nine, you give a picture of the “Royal Exchange of London” and call it the "Royal Stock Exchange.” This is a mistake. This building is not used as a “stock exchange;" it is simply a place for merchants to meet.. The hours are from 3.1-10 to 4.30 p.m.. and the most important days are Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Ix>ndon Stock Exchange is about a hundred yards away in Capel Court, to the left of your picture.

I enjoy your magazine ven,'much.—H.D. Metcalfe, Winnipeg.

Effective Humor

You have put in many a good stroke in the cause for world peace more people than you know are thanking you for your leadership in thisbut you never propped a more effective bit of propaganda than when you published "The Boys of the Old Brigade," by Hubert Evans. Colonel Drew and Beverley Nichols made us froth at the mouth with righteous indignation at the war lords; but in his biting satire Evans showed who the war lords really are. and incidentally gave us a much-needed laugh at our own gullibility. Many thanks.—R. W. Hardy, Cranbrook, B.C.

Splendid Articles

Thanks very much for the article, “Mr. Bennett Convert or Realist,” in the February 15 number; and those splendid articles by Beverley Baxter are each worth the whole subscription price of your incomparable magazine.

Yes, I’m a Canadian.—Esther Pettit, Albany, Ga., U.S.A.

Without Prejudice

I regard Maclean’s as being authoritative on any subject it undertakes to cover, but there is one subject, however, that, as yet has escaped the probe.

“What is the state of mind, if any, that yields modem dance music?” or “What is the mental state that popularizes the latest hits?”

Research into this seemingly unimjxirtant phase of national depravityor otherwisemight solve and settle a million doubts in depression difficulties.

One of the latest jazzateria creations reminds one too vividly of a gasping deathbed. a shortness of breath, a frantic wailing, a hopeless plunging and a gurgle. I’m not prejudiced by any means. You can prove it by listening to a radio or to any competent dance orchestra, with an open mind. For twenty-five years they put over similar stuff for what they conceived was jungle music. I Doesn’t your sympathy go out to the

piano, which pathetically is trying to make itself heard among the blare of noisy trumjiets? The plucky little piano stays with it every time until the saxophone horns in. In modem jazz, there is the human feeling of unquenchable hatred the piano for the | saxophone. I have noticed it a hundred ; times.

I congratulate R.T.L. on his courage and veracity. He seems to know his vegetables quite well.—Percy G. Howlett, Bredenbury, Sask.

Improving Every Day

I think the February 15 number is the meatiest issue you have ever published. It is well balanced; one cannot turn over a single page without finding something very interesting. You are improving every day in every way.—J. R. W., Red Deer, Alta.

Railway Employees

There has been considerable discussion by both heads of the Canadian railways, but as yet no plan has been placed before the public. The employees are interested in a suitable plan whereby our railways would be worked to the satisfaction of both employers and employees. The railway question of today has become so acute that it has extended to the employees, and a number of discussions are heard. Almost a reorganization of our railways would have to take place to put some of them into effect. One of the greatest burdens is the overhead expense which could be eliminated by reorganization.

In the past, mistakes have been made by adopting heavy motive power for moving heavy tonnage. This system will have to change in the near future, if the companies are going to maintain the traffic under that of carload lots. There are service departments which could be eliminated as they clash with the operating departments.

For the railways to operate on a paying basis, it would be necessaryto have a com-

prehensive plan to take the form of a cooperative management of lxith railways, also a plan to protect the employees who are now working. In this way the Government would save millions which it is now putting into the railways. There would be a maximum and minimum in pensions that would not increase the amount now paid. The pensions should be carried by the railways, the employees and the Government. The companies would save a vast amount of operating expenses by consolidating the departments into two or three.

The railwaymen would like to have the problem solved whereby the companies which employ them can be assured of a revenue which will maintain them and give

security to the employee. The depression has made men think, especially the workers, as their security has been shattered to the extent that some thousands ot them are in j the ranks of the unemployed. Men realize that this question must be solve-d in order 1 to prevent an economic breakdown of the railways. We have a Government Department ot Railways and the Board of Railway Commissioners. If the Board of RailwayCommissioners were properly organized, a workable plan would be operating by now. It the two railways would call practical men from the different departments to discuss the above, I am sure they would arrive at a workable solution.—W. W. Lynes, Sicamous, B.C.