10 MARCH 1928, Page 14


The zeal of the Women's Institutes is a commonplace in these days ; but there are continual expressions of it which both surprise and delight. From a recent conference, devoted very largely to business, the women returned unusually enthusiastic ; and it seemed worth investigating the secret of their satisfaction in so stern a subject. What they liked. and what moved them was beyond question the sense that they were part of a big movement, that their parish was not parochial but national and more than national. Such had been the theme of the organizer's- speech ; and nothing in speeches gives more real solid pleasure than emphasis on the width and generality of the movement. I must confess that the fact greatly surprised me, perhaps because there .is nothing like it among the male village clubs and societies. For a parallel you must go to Toe H and ex-soldiers' organiza- tions. There the feeling of wide solidarity is potent. The wireless is a continuous influence to the same end. If not moribund, parochialism is losing at any rate some of its old zest.