THE VILLAINS IN THE CASE

At various intervals a United States Senator momentarily forgets his official dignity and plays the buffoon to the great delight of the chamber, the galleries and the nation. There are times when a member of the legislature can play the sedulous ape and relieve the tediousness of law making without consequences detrimental to his own reputation, the state which he represents, or the august body of which he is a member. However, now that Senator Helfin of Alabama has recanted and admitted that he delivered his oratorical acid of a day or so ago in "fun", it appears that the laughter which swept the chamber and galleries when he sounded a conciliatory note is the just reward of one who not only played the mountebank but chose dangerous toys at the same time.

Disregarding his attack on Governor Smith and the Catholic Church, one is equally impressed by Senator Heflin's melodramatic threats against the "villain" newspaper correspondents who reported his speeches from the press galleries. It is possible, however, that the reporters regretted the necessity of publishing the words which so plainly signified a lack of tact on the part of the Senator from Alabama, but in the last extremity they can plead that he gave them no cue that his condemnation of Senator Robinson of Arkansas to tar and feathers was made only in "fun." In a speech bristling with denunciations and innuendos it was not their duty to separate the wheat from the chaff. Indeed, if senatorial "fun" of Senator Heflin's brand can be checked by a fear of the "villains" of the press galleries, it is advantageous for the sensibilities of the nation to have the correspondents present.