11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—I have been very interested and often not a little amused by the various articles and letters recently published from under thirty, over eighty, disillusioned nearly thirty, 8:c. One thing seems fairly plain—that most of the troubles and trials hinge on the personality of the writer. Success or failure will very largely depend on his ability to triumph over his own peculiar difficulties of character and environment, and to impress him- self, his will to be and to do, upon his surroundings, and to enjoy the doing.

Looking back on a life which has had its interest and adven- tures (and which I hope has still more to come) I am sure that the sense of an adventure comes from within oneself. An experience which to one man will be full of excited interest to another will spell mere boredom.

I also have been a gold miner for many years and to the dis- illusioned one in West Africa I would say that adventure is usually synonymous with bad drinking-water, ill health, insect pests and so forth ; but when you see new gold glitter in your pan and realise you have found a mine all the discomforts and the doubts will seem worth while in the wonder of your discovery.

I do not believe that the present time offers any less chance of adventure or opportunity to advance oneself than past ages. Opportunity is often with us, at our side, but so few of us have the eyes to see or the patience to prepare ourselves to seize

the profit when it is there to hand. We are living in stirring, interesting times ; full of great problems and questionings, perhaps the most difficult and dangerous (that is to say the most adventurous) in History. Opportunity and adventure too often mean years of work, of doubt and discomfort, ques- tionings, distrust of oneself, sometimes mere boredom. Had the great adventurers of our history, Drake and Frobisher, Raleigh, Clive and Livingstone, always good drinking-water, no insect pests and even tinned food ? Now when the centuries have passed we read of then' great moments and their shc- cesses, and we forget the boredom' and anxiety ilmiugh which they passed, in the glory of their fine achievements.

To the under thirty I would say that you have as good opportunity for work, success and adventure as any former generation, perhaps better. But it's up to you to make your impress on the times you live in, and if you give up trying at under thirty they'll be pretty poor times, too. That will be largely your fault !

But myself I do not believe that you will all give up too soon.