21 FEBRUARY 1964, Page 9

The Last Word I had' thought that there was nothing

more to be said about the mice that scampered across our national stage last spring and summer. I was wrong. Mrs. Trilling, writing in the latest issue of the Partisan Review, ends her study with these sentences: 'Ours is an era of "cases," starting with the Sacco-Vanzetti case in the 1920s, pro- ceeding through the Hiss and Oppenheimer cases to the Rosenberg case, the Chessman case, the Eichmann case, and most recently culminating, if we can call it a culmination, in the Profumo case. That, in 1963, our great confrontation between opposing social principles began in the discovery that a government official had been engaged in illicit sex, was opportunistically manipulated by the party which in England is supposed to speak most firmly for the liberal—by which we mean the decent—values, and was brought to 'its only 'semblance of moral resolution by the suicide of a man of the character of Stephen Ward, should remind us that the life of reason continues to have its troubles.'

The mind, as Bertie Wooster once observed, boggles.