15 SEPTEMBER 1950, Page 3

" Is theie," asked the man of property wistfully," any-

thing that doesn't need maintenance ? Can anyone claim that he has in his possession something which never has to be looked after, which involves him in no responsibility of any kind ?" The dinner-table's first reaction was a brash, unconsidered.affirmative ; for the diners had spent their day some in high and desolate corries, others among an aimless intricacy of peat hags on the low ground. • " That anony- mous lochan on the march," they argued, "the sheer rock face on Macleod's beat ; surely these need no maintenance, involve you in no responsibility ?" Their host agreed that, compared with Old Masters, television sets, billiard tables, automatic pencils, cats, ploughs, bicycles, tennis courts, cigarette lighters and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the works of God which they had mentioned imposed upon their owner, however conscientious and methodical he might be, compar- atively light responsibilities. " But what," he asked, " if to-morrow I see poachers on that little loch ? Or suppose that a message is brought in to us now that a climber has fallen and injured himself on those rocks ? Do I have to take some action, or do I not ?" In the conversation that followed somebody claimed that he had a sundial in his garden which, as far as he knew, had never received any maintenance or involved him in any -responsibility ; and somebody else put in a not very convincing plea for a remote tropical bathing beach .(situated, he had to admit, in territory from which we had lately had to extrude, at great trouble and expense, the King's enemies). But the general consensus of opinion was that the man of property was right, and that there is nothing you can own which doesn't need looking after and which involves you in no responsibility. * *