A great many shells and skulls of churches

I have this collection of letters by Sylvia Townsend Warner and I started rather randomly re-reading it yesterday. She’s a demon with words – I’d forgotten.

She went to Barcelona in 1936 to help with the resistance to Franco’s coup, working in a Red Cross office.

Heard of it by wire, sprang into the car, and drove across France at a rate which would have been intolerable if we had not been on our way to Spain.

I don’t think I have ever met so many congenial people in the whole of my life.

She describes how the workers are running everything, and how terrific it all is.

There are a great many shells and skulls of churches. It seemed quite natural that churches should have been used as machine gun nests, I have never seen churches so heavy and bulky and bullying, one can see at a glance that they have always been reactionary fortresses.

She met no one who resented the gutting of the churches, though she did meet two women who were a little uneasy that bastard god might punish them.

And you cannot imagine, after this mealy-mouthed country, the pleasure of seeing an office with a large painted sign, Organisation for the Persecution of Fascists. Anarchists, of course. That beautiful directness is typical of anarchism, a most engaging type of thought, though I do not want to be an anarchist myself. The world is not yet worthy of it, but it ought to be the political theory of heaven.

P.S. It is only the papers which call the Spanish Communists. They are nearly all anarchists…

That’s a nice Xmas present, don’t you think?

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