14 MARCH 1941, Page 14

Unfriendly South Is it true that country people, and especially

south country PeoPle, are unfriendly? I picked up a soldier, dead-tired, carrying full kit, at the end of a journey which he had begun at half-past four in the morning. He was surprised, he said, to get a lift at all ; he was staggered to be asked home for a drink and a sandwich. Coming from the north, where cinema seats were half-price for serving men and where 'bus-conductors were for some reason always without change and where people said good-morning as naturally as they breathed, he had found himself facing a brick wall of dumb indiffer- ence in the south. It was hard to get a lift, harder still to get a good" morning, hardest of all to make friends. To live in a millionaire's mansion and hang his overcoat on walls where Rembrandt had formerly been was no compensation. He had driven a motor-bike thousands of miles throughout the winter over roads as tough and frozen as they could be, but not one was as tough or frozen as the distant indifference of the people. What he and others wanted was quite simple—kindliness, a friendly hullo, a taste of home and fire- side. They rarely got it. " Come again," I said, and he shied mmY like a nervous horse—didn't want to trouble us, didn't want to bother folks, didn't want to put us about. But he came and we felt haPPY to have broken the legend of southern unfriendliness for at leas: one man.