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Peace, yes; Puritanism, no

10 May 2019

May 9th, 1919.

IT WOULD be very regrettable if the time for rejoicing over the signing of peace arrived and found us unprepared with plans for worthily celebrating the occasion. We shall do well to make merry on Peace Day, but, unless some better way of festivity than “mafficking” is devised, the proceedings will degenerate into an orgy of senseless shouting and aimless walking about the streets. We believe that the society lately formed for the promotion of seemly civic rejoicings is at work, and much is to be hoped from its endeavours, especially in the large towns. In country places, where neighbours all know one another, the merry-making can partake of the nature of a family gathering, as it were. We are thinking, of course, of the secular and outdoor observance of the day. How far we have travelled from the Puritan kill-joy tradition is illustrated in an interview with Dr F. B. Meyer, who gave it as his opinion that the Merry England of the past needs to be revived; but we should add, however, that he expressly excludes bear-baiting; whether because there would not be enough bears to go round, or because it would cause pain to the bear, he does not say. But, at any rate, we may be sure that his reason is not that which his spiritual ancestors would have given, lest it should give pleasure to the spectators.

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