14 JUNE 1940, Page 5

Soho, I suppose, has its own basis of appraisal. There

were no doubt good reasons, or at any rate reasons of some kind, why certain Italian cafes should have had their windows broken the day Mussolini went to war, while others, obviously just as Italian, remained immune. Soho the day after was interesting. The streets were unusually full, mainly with idlers watching broken glass being replaced or—a still more intense activity—Italian names being painted out. So you get " — Restaurant," with just a trace remaining of the title that showed its nationality. Elsewhere the obliteration was more wholesale, no sign of any name being left at all. By an odd appearance of incongruity " Spaghetti Restaurant " lays claim in emphatic lettering to " British ownership," and so, rather oddly, does another estab- lishment which at the same time is somehow " Iranian: French Protection." If Soho goes, or ceases to be Soho, for the period of the war we shall lose a lot. But we do lose a lot in war. And there are several scores of novels, Miss Radclyffe Hall's Adam's Breed, for example, to keep the atmosphere familiar.