THE other day we crawled back to the office after a battle with ’flu. We weren’t feeling very brisk anyhow, and a mixture of snow and sleet didn’t cheer us up one bit. The first letter we picked up was from a Vancouver reader who expressed the blunt opinion that as an editor we were pretty much of a washout because of our failure to call the attention of the Canadian people to the fact that in Vancouver crocuses, rhododendrons and camellias were in bloom the first week of February. He enclosed pictures of flowers in Stanley Park, taken on February 16, and he said: “We want you to enjoy what we do. There is room for all. Come along. This is part of your heritage as Fellow Canadians. Our balmy air will help to soothe injured feelings.”
At this moment Hamish, our former composing-room messenger paid us a visit. He was wearing a corporal's stripes and was quite perky. “My, my, my !” said Hamish. “You look awful !” Then we picked up another letter. It restored our perspective. It was from an editor friend of ours in London. He wrote that the offices of his newspaper had been hit three times by enemy bombs which messed things up all round, but they never stopped publishing. He said that in the last raid, which came between editions, they dealt with casualties, mess and wreckage from direct hits, improvised temporary shipping arrangements and by midnight were printing final editions of two papers, which bore no sign of any interruption. He said that he was working in a windowless room in an icy blast; that several streets about him were cut off because of unexploded time bombs, and that he had found it quicker that day to send a cable 3,000 miles to the United States and get a reply permitting him to use certain illustrations than to get the work done by an artist living three blocks away. He said, “The way everybody overcame difficulties—in every job—was really magnificent. Everything you’ve read about these London people is only half the truth.”
• We mention the foregoing because in this issue of Maclean's there are two features which, each in its own way, express that magnificence. On page ten there is the second part of Charles Rawlings’ story of the men of the Merchant Navy. It is as vivid a piece of writing as we have come across in a long, long time. It comes right out of the forecastles of the ships which, month in and month out, defy the perils of an Atlantic crossing; it comes from the men who, rescued after incredible escapes, go back to sea as a matter of course. It is a record of fact that is infinitely more powerful than fiction; a chronicle of heroism you wont forget.
The second piece is fiction. Yet it is fiction with the quality of reality. It appears on page seven—“And All That England Means”—and is a long complete story. Its author, Victor MacClure is a well-known English
writer. It is possible that you may feel that the reason H. Oldfield Wilkin gave for wanting to kill Germans was not altogether the real reason, but when you have finished reading the story, we don’t think you will feel otherwise than that there are H. Oldfield Wilkins in the British forces.
•Carrying on a custom of years, on page twelve we present Maclean s AllStar Hockey Team. Once more James C. Hendy has had the co-operation of the managers of the National League clubs, who do the selecting. In addition to picking a team, the managers also have unanimously chosen the outstanding player of the season, the game’s outstanding playmaker and the brightest prospect to pop up during the 1940-1941 campaign. We leave it to Mr. Hendy to tell you who they all are.
• If you happen to have a sixteen-yearold son who is learning to play the clarinet and a niece whose beau appears to have taken root in the living room, you will understand the feelings of Mr. Henry Hodges. However, Hodges Paterfamilias was merely a vague sort of background in the adolescent dreams of son Sinclair. The fact is that Sinclair was in love. And the only way to obtain solace when love is unrequited is to moan into a clarinet or other wind instrument. On page fourteen, Frederic F. Van de Water takes you into Sinclair’s confidence, in a very refreshing little story—“Masquerade.”
•One of The MacLean Publishing Company’s editors, Ronald McEachern, recently returned from an extensive tour of South America. Flying some 22,000 miles, he visited, among other countries, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. On page seventeen, Mr. McEachern discusses the Nazi penetration of South America. It is no recent development. It has been going on since the conclusion of the last war.
•Recent Japanese moves in connection with the Thailand-Indo-China dispute and the sending of warships and troops almost to the threshold of the Malay Peninsula brings Singapore into sharp focus. Singapore is the cornerstone of the Empire in the Far East. No one can describe its defenses. That they are formidable goes without saying. But on page thirteen there is some exceedingly interesting information about Singapore, supplied by Henry Peterson, an English journalist who has lived in the Far East for a number of years, and who is well acquainted with Singapore itself. He was educated at Oxford, worked for a time on a London newspaper, and has been freelancing since 1929.
♦Sorry Douglas Reed’s article missed this issue. It will be in the next one.
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