1 MARCH 1930, Page 17

Country Life


.I have been seeing something.of country life in Spain ; and the abrupt contrasts_ between rich lands and poor lands ; fields bearing sugar cane, the loveliest orchards of oranges, lemons, mandarins and vineyards prolific of the best raisins, almonds flowering above an undergrowth of field peas—all this and more cheek by jowl with slopes that give the barest living to herds of goats tended by a bare-footed child. But whether lands were rich or poor, the relative poverty of the country folk compared with his own must strike every English traveller. And a-great number are as ill-housed as they are ill-fed. When Thoreau wrote : " Never met I a man engaged in the so simple operation of building his own house " he confessed that he -*AS no Borrow or traveller in Spain. Very many peasants build their own houses (and build them at least as badly as Thoreau built his). The one-roomed house with no chimney and only one very tiny unglazed window is common ; and the weekly income. of the household would often be much over-assessed at 10s. A " penny," for which every other child begs by its English name, is a symbol of the inordinate wealth, of visitors from other countries !